If you ever intend to purchase CBD oil, make sure it contains less than 3% THC and is made from hemp, not marijuana. Getting a low THC registry card and purchasing only from reputable sellers can help you ensure that your CBD oil is legal for purchase. Remember that CBD that containing more than 3% THC is considered a schedule 1 controlled substance – a category of drugs that carry the harshest penalties for possession. Possession of high-THC CBD oil could get you charged with up to fifteen years in prison under Georgia law.
CBD derived from hemp is legal for purchase in Georgia in part because of HB 213, or the Georgia Hemp Farming Act. This bill has made it possible for licensed farmers to cultivate industrial hemp in Georgia. Industrial hemp, much like marijuana, is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant. Hemp looks and smells identical to marijuana. However, it differs on both a chemical and genetic level. But what is the exact difference between hemp and marijuana, and are there any legal issues attached to hemp products?
How Do Marijuana and Hemp Differ?
Both marijuana and hemp are distinct strains of the cannabis plant. Marijuana contains high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the drug responsible for the distinct ‘high’ felt when you smoke marijuana or otherwise consume cannabis products. Hemp, meanwhile, contains high amounts of cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD oil, a non-intoxicating chemical which decreases or eliminates the effects of THC.
Hemp and marijuana are also cultivated differently. Marijuana is bred and grown in carefully controlled environments in order to maximize the plant’s unique characteristics. Hemp, meanwhile, is grown outdoors to maximize its size and yield. This means that it requires much less attention when it is being grown and can be produced in massive quantities for industrial usage.
What Can You Do with Hemp?
The hemp plant is incredibly versatile. Hemp seeds are packed with protein and can be eaten as a snack, and the seed oil can be used for salad dressings. Hemp fibers have been used extensively throughout history to make numerous textile products. Because the hemp plant grows quite tall and dense, it can be grown as a “mop crop” to deprive weeds of sunlight and kill them. There are many other products that can be made from hemp, from insulating material and plastic to animal bedding and biodiesel fuels.
One of the most popular types of hemp products in the United States are goods containing CBD oil. In fact, profits from CBD products made up almost one quarter of hemp industry profits in the United States in 2017. You can legally purchase a number of CBD products, from tinctures to gel capsules and even pet food, and stores specializing in goods containing CBD oil are becoming a common sight. Interest in CBD only continues to grow, with sales expected to increase to 10.3 billion by 2024.
CBD oil has been marketed as a way to potentially treat multiple health problems, including seizure disorders, chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis, and multiple studies have been conducted on its potential benefits. While there has been some concern over CBD’s possible side effects, including nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, and low blood pressure, its popularity shows no signs of decreasing. And since full spectrum CBD oil contains only trace amounts of THC, it is legal under Georgia’s hemp farming bill.
Legal Complications of Hemp
Hemp might be legal for select individuals to grow, and hemp products might be legal for sale in Georgia, but there are still a few legal issues at play. Hemp might contain drastically less THC than its cousin marijuana, but they look identical at a glance. The only way a for law enforcement officer to distinguish between these different varieties of cannabis is to analyze the level of THC they contain. Because THC is difficult to accurately measure with current technology, a number of counties in Georgia have changed their misdemeanor possession laws until a solution can be found.
Additionally, CBD oil is still illegal as a food additive, regardless of the level of THC it contains. This means that a restaurant, cafe, or other public eatery cannot add CBD to their foods or drinks without potentially landing themselves in legal trouble. While there is some confusion over the legality of CBD oil otherwise, low-THC CBD oil made from hemp is perfectly legal to possess under Georgia law.