Yes. Only licensed cultivators can grow marijuana in Cherokee County for medical purposes. However, it remains illegal for individuals to grow cannabis plants in the State of Georgia. Charges for this crime are severe, and the penalties include prison, probation, and payment of expensive fines.
Georgia’s Hope Act allows six private companies and two universities – the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University – to grow marijuana and produce cannabis oil. The GA Access to Medical Cannabis Commission (GMCC) issues Class 1 and Class 2 production licenses to cultivators.
Class 1 production licensees are authorized to cultivate marijuana and produce low-THC cannabis oil in 100,000 square feet of cultivation space. In contrast, Class 2 production licensees are permitted to grow cannabis and produce low-THC oil in a 50,000 square feet area. In both cases, cultivation facilities must be indoors. Therefore, growing cannabis outdoors by licensees and individuals is prohibited.
Cultivators must have a comprehensive security plan ensuring they comply with the applicable laws in the state. They must also specify the production process describing the chain of custody of their products. A written plan must be established detailing security measures to warrant the secured transportation of cannabis products.
Yes. The State of Georgia allows cannabis oil manufacturing by licensed production facilities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves all ingredients, except those naturally occurring or derived from cannabis, used in the production of cannabis oil.
According to the GMCC Rules, the Commission requires production licensees to operate only at the physical location as indicated on their respective license contracts. They are not allowed to dispense products at the premises, to give away, or receive free regulated cannabis under any conditions.
Cannabis manufacturers must produce, prepare, package, warehouse, store, and label a product that the Commission approves. The exterior doors of rooms in the production facility shall be clearly labeled to pinpoint the purpose of the area. Only authorized individuals must have access to the restricted areas of the cultivation space.
Yes. Cannabis dispensaries may only sell to Low THC Oil Registry cardholders, as recreational use and possession of marijuana remain illegal in Cherokee County. These cardholders may be adults certified with qualifying conditions, their legal guardians, and the parents or legal guardians of a minor prescribed with the low THC cannabis oil. However, the Commission has not yet issued dispensary licenses to any applicant as of January 2023.
Qualified persons may possess up to twenty (20) fluid ounces of low-THC oil derived from marijuana plants. Georgia’s laws on cannabis possession are limited compared to other states, wherein it does not allow the sale of cannabis in leaf form, the infusion of cannabis in food products, or the ingestion of cannabis oil into vapor. Therefore, possession of any other form of marijuana by unauthorized individuals is a violation of state laws.
The final product must be in original and sealed packaging, and distributed at the dispensary only. Having a dispensary license does not entitle the licensee to produce regulated cannabis.
Dispensaries shall prominently display signages informing individuals entering the premises of the dispensing license, laws and rules, hours of operation, and a sign declaring, “No products can be administered, applied, ingested, or consumed on the premises.” It shall also not provide free or sample products to any person.
Georgia’s Hope Act lacks provisions relating to the delivery of low THC cannabis oil to residential addresses. The GMCC has yet to provide details regarding this matter.
To legally possess marijuana, you must have a Low THC Registry Card issued by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The physician treating the patient sends in an application that includes two forms: a waiver form and a physician certification form to be submitted to the DPH. Applicants will be asked to pay a fee of $25 per new card.
Persons eligible to apply for a card are adults diagnosed with the diseases specified by the law, legal guardians of the adult with the diseases specified, and the parents or legal guardians of a minor qualified to receive the Low THC Registry Card. The conditions covered by the law are the following:
Autism spectrum disorder, when the patient is 18 years of age or more
Seizure disorders related to epilepsy or trauma-related head injuries
The patient is in a hospice program, either as an inpatient or outpatient
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Diagnosis is severe or at end-stage:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Sickle cell disease
Autism spectrum disorder when the patient is less than 18 years of age
A nearest Public Health Office representative shall notify you when your registry card is available for pick up. The validity of the card is two years from the date of issue.
Low THC Oil Registry
Georgia Department of Public Health
Main Telephone: 404-657-2700
2 Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3186
Georgia’s Hope Act states that selling low THC cannabis oil products is subject to all applicable sales and use tax. The State of Georgia imposes a 4% sales tax on tangible products. In Cherokee County, the sales tax rate is 2%, which makes the combined state and county sales tax rate 6%.
A finance and investment website predicted a $200 million marijuana tax revenue for three years in Georgia if the state legalized the recreational use of cannabis products. It utilized the average excise tax figures and the number of marijuana users in each state.
Apart from the taxes, the Commission collects license fees from cannabis producers and dispensaries, and administrative costs.
In 2019, House Bill 324, or Georgia’s Hope Act was approved, legalizing the in-state cultivation of marijuana and the production of low THC cannabis oil. As of January 2023, the Commission has yet to issue dispensary licenses, meaning the sale of legal low THC cannabis oil has not yet been in effect.
For future reference, the FBI Crime Data Explorer reports arrest rates in Georgia, including illegal possession, sale, and manufacturing of marijuana.
Despite the lack of information on the effects of the legalization of low THC cannabis oil, it is worth noting that from 2018 to 2019, the number of arrests for illegal possession of marijuana decreased by over 15,000 (from 25,000 to 10,000 arrests). Then, in 2020, the number of arrests reduced to 6,000 – a difference of around 4,000. In 2021, close to 10,000 arrests were reported by the agency.
There were approximately 4,000 arrests for the illegal sale and manufacturing of marijuana in 2018. In the following years, this figure went down to 1,800, 700, and roughly 1,000 arrests in 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively.