You’ve probably been seeing lots of headlines about CBD, cannabis, marijuana, and hemp. Especially after an election year, where states have updated laws and regulations, it can be difficult to understand exactly what is going on.
The CBD industry is growing rapidly. In just the past few years, dispensaries have been opening up around the country, over-the-counter CBD products are being sold in stores, and you can now find cosmetic products with CBD in the aisles of the supermarket.
But even though CBD is seemingly everywhere nowadays, many are still confused on the exact legality—both on the national and the state level.
The good news: it’s legal, and not too difficult, to buy cannabidiol (CBD) in the Peach State.
But as the industry is shifting, and regulations change, it can be tough to navigate exactly what is happening with CBD in Georgia.
To understand the full picture, you need to be up-to-date on what’s happening at both the federal and state levels. Let’s explore the current legislation that you need to know.
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural, non-intoxicating compound found in plants in the cannabis sativa family. Both hemp and marijuana plants are types of cannabis plants, and both contain CBD. However, the two plants have big differences.
In addition to CBD, marijuana plants also have relatively high concentrations of the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive compound that creates the famous “high” that people associate with marijuana. A marijuana plant may contain up to 30% THC.
Hemp plants, however, contain 0.3% or less of THC, and (generally) greater concentrations of CBD. This nearly untraceable amount of THC is why CBD oil doesn’t get you high. Rather, CBD derived from hemp is instead known for its beneficial health and wellness effects.
When you see a CBD oil product label in the United States, unless it is specifically listed as derived from marijuana, it is almost always hemp-derived CBD oil. Since hemp plants generally contain a higher concentration of CBD, this is part of the reason that CBD oil usually is derived from hemp rather than marijuana.
The Legal Background
In 1970, the federal government classified hemp, alongside marijuana, as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. In the eyes of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), there was no difference between the two plants.
Thankfully, in 2018, Congress passed a new Farm Bill called the Agriculture Improvement Act. It removed hemp from the Schedule I classification. Now, there was a clear distinction between hemp and marijuana under the eyes of the law. Hemp was designated as a cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC.
As soon as American farmers could start growing hemp legally, a new market started to explode. CBD oil products derived from hemp plants have been growing in popularity for years. Experts estimate growth of up to 30% in the market by 2027, with the largest percentage of that occurring in North America.
Ok, So What Is in CBD Products?
Basically, when you see a product with “CBD oil” in it, it usually refers to hemp-derived CBD. Part of the reason is because of the differences in concentrations between the two plants. The other reason is that hemp-derived CBD is legal to purchase and consume all across the United States, while the legality of marijuana-derived CBD oil varies by state.
In states where marijuana is legal (FYI: Georgia is not one of them), it is possible to buy marijuana-derived CBD products. However, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to take this product into another state legally.
Most manufacturers use CBD oil from hemp plants because it is legal across all 50 states. So if you are reading this information in the United States, you can most likely go to a local store or pharmacy and find hemp-derived CBD oil.
However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t differences in laws regarding CBD. States, counties, or municipalities may have varying local laws and regulations that restrict who can grow hemp, or who can sell certain CBD products. If you aren’t sure about the specific laws in your state or locale, it may be worth it to do some research.
Is CBD Oil Legal in GA?
With this law, the sale of hemp and hemp products was legalized on the state level. For hemp farmers, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) drafted rules and regulations for the licensed cultivation and process of hemp.
However, it is important to note that this law did not include the use of CBD as a food additive. In fact, the GDA released a specific declaration clarifying that the Georgia Hemp Farming Act still excluded the use of CBD in foods, beverages, animal feed, or dietary supplements.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the regulation of CBD product labeling, including marketing claims and its use as a food additive. Georgia lawmakers, so far, have closely followed whatever guidelines have been released by the FDA.
The good news is that if you live in Georgia, you can find many CBD oil products to purchase. Whether visiting your local supermarket or pharmacy, or even a big chain like CVS or Kroger, you will most likely find some products that include CBD in the personal care sections. Many of these stores carry a large selection of topicals, but they may also carry tinctures or pills.
Many Georgia residents also tend to turn to online retailers. This is because these e-commerce stores usually have a bigger selection of products. And because CBD oil is legal on the national levels, these stores can ship to Georgia without any hassle.
Moving Forward with CBD
CBD products and regulations on growing and selling hemp are still new for many states. As a result, it’s important to keep up to date. As CBD grows more popular with consumers and more widely accepted, there are likely to be continued changes in regulations.