MORE ON WEED LAWS IN GEORGIA:
Are Delta-8, Delta-10, Hemp and Edibles Legal?
(See Below For New Law Updates from November 2023)
I get asked all the time about whether Delta-8, Delta-10 and Hemp (and edibles containing them) are legal in Georgia. At the moment, this is a tricky area of the law in Georgia.
Are hemp and weed the same thing?
No. Weed is a common term for marijuana plants. Hemp is a plant that is similar to a marijuana plant but NOT identical. They are two different varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. Both contain THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the substance that gets you high, but hemp usually has it in a much lower amount than marijuana plants. Even the plants' leaves look similar, and this can cause a great deal of confusion.
So which is legal?
Possession of marijuana in any form in Georgia is NOT legal (unless you are one of the rare people who qualifies for medical marijuana.) There are some cities in Georgia that have changed how they punish possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in it's leafy form, but it is not considered truly legal. Possession of THC oil or any edible (like weed brownies or rice krispy treats) for most people will result in your being charged with a felony in Georgia. For more on that, you can read my article on Georgia's weed laws by clicking here: Arrested for Weed. For more on edibles in Georgia, click here: The Shocking Truth About Edibles In Georgia
On the other hand, hemp has been legalized in some forms in Georgia through a bill that passed in 2019. Hemp products (such as CBD, Delta-8 and Delta 10) are "legal" (but see below) and the source of lots of confusion.
What does the hemp law actually say?
Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 2-23-3) defines hemp as "the Cannabis sativa L. plant and any part of such plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with the federally defined THC level for hemp or a lower level." Hemp products are "all products with the federally defined THC level for hemp derived from, or made by, processing hemp plants or plant parts that are prepared in a form available for legal commercial sale, but not including food products infused with THC unless approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration." And what is that "federally defined THC level"? The “Federally defined THC level for hemp” means a delta-9-THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis, or as defined in 7 U.S.C Sec. 1639o, whichever is greater. Remember, delta-9 THC is the stuff that makes you "high." It is those levels of delta-9 that are so tightly regulated.
What does that mean in easy to understand language?
As long as the products you possess are derived from hemp, and contain not more than 0.3% THC, they are legal to possess, but the law says it does not include food products. It does not appear that hemp gummies are being treated as food products, but obviously hemp brownies, hemp rice krispy treats, etc. would be. So avoid any hemp products (even if they say 0.3% or lower THC) if they are in edible form right now. **Update** The law on hemp edible products has changed as of November 2023. Click Here: https://www.cobbcriminaldefenselawyer.com/are-delta-8-and-delta-10-legal-in-georgia-fall-2023.
So are CBD, Delta-8, and Delta-10 are legal in Georgia?
As of right now, CBD, Delta-8 and Delta-10, as derived from hemp with the appropriate 0.3% maximum of THC and made through a commercial sale, are legal to possess. However, the issue of edibles is still a problem since the law does not permit them to be in food products including beverages.
The reason I say 'as of right now", is because in 2023 there are politicians working to get Delta-8 and Delta-10 outlawed in Georgia. They see the sale of Delta-8 and Delta-10 as a loophole in the hemp law. They have concerns that it is too similar to Delta-9 (what we traditionally think of as marijuana) and that Delta-8 and Delta-10 products are not regulated by the FDA. There is also an issue of sale of these products to minors.
Can I be arrested for having Delta-8, Delta-10 or CBD?
I'd like to tell you "no" but it's a tricky situation in Georgia. As of right now, you should not be arrested for these products (assuming they're not in edible or food product form and follow the hemp law). The Georgia Attorney general considers these products legal at present. But that has not stopped some local counties from still raiding some shops and prosecuting people! It has gotten so messy that the Georgia Supreme Court has gotten involved as well as federal judges, since it appears those prosecutors are ignoring state law in prosecuting some people. Criminal defense lawyers all across the state are watching all of this unfold because it could have negative affect on people who believe they are lawfully using a product protected by state law.
If you are caught with Delta-8 edibles or gummies, you may be charged with possession of a Schedule I narcotic which is a felony. This may happen even with products that say they are from CBD and only 0.3% THC, because the law does not permit food products to be sold with THC. What happens after you are charged for Delta-8 gummies or edibles is unclear. Some reasonable prosecutors may recognize the law is unclear and agree to a reduction or dismissal of the charges. Others may choose to prosecute it as a felony. But to be sure, buying gummies or edibles with any amount of THC right now puts you in danger of being arrested in Georgia.
UPDATE - as of November 2023, the Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that edibles containing only Delta-8 or Delta-10 are not controlled substances. So, it appears (for now) they are legal to purchase and consume. We are waiting to see whether this ruling is appealed.
For more information on this, click here: https://www.cobbcriminaldefenselawyer.com/are-delta-8-and-delta-10-legal-in-georgia-fall-2023
What happens if I am arrested for Delta-8, Delta-10, CBD, an edible or gummies?
SInce this area of the law in Georgia is so complicated and constantly changing, you need to call a lawyer right away. If you have been arrested for something that the police say is weed, contact me at 404-904-2862.