Yes. However, only the cultivation of medical cannabis for the production of Low THC oil is allowed in Forsyth County. The State of Georgia opposed any recreational or nonmedical use of marijuana in the state, and the access to low THC oil to patients is limited in scope. Cultivating, manufacturing, and dispensing marijuana in leaf or plant form is prohibited in the state.
Georgia’s Hope Act created the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission (GMCC) to oversee the sale of low THC oil and regulate marijuana business licensees in the state. The GMCC issues either a Class 1 Production License or a Class 2 Production License to entities who wish to cultivate and harvest marijuana to produce low THC oil.
Only two Class 1 production licenses are issued by the GMCC. They are authorized to grow cannabis in indoor facilities limited to 100,000 square feet of cultivation space, and manufacture low THC oil. The applicant must prove that it holds at least $2 million in available cash reserves to invest operations in Georgia.
A Class 2 Production License allows an entity to grow marijuana indoors, limited to 50,000 square feet of cultivation space, and manufacture low THC oil. Issuance of this license requires that the applicant has at least $1.25 million in available cash reserves to invest in operations in the state. The GMCC may issue up to four Class 2 Production Licenses.
Both types of licenses require the applicants to establish a comprehensive security plan which ensures a 24/7 interior and exterior video monitoring and intrusion detection monitoring system. A written plan must be included in the application to ensure the cultivators use no pesticides at any stage of the production process.
Yes. After the cultivation and harvest of marijuana, a Class 1 or Class 2 Production Licensee is also authorized to manufacture low THC oil in the state. The licensee must have a written production plan which details the chain of custody of how low THC oil shall be maintained and documented. Additionally, the GMCC requires that marijuana cultivators and low THC oil manufacturers establish, maintain, and utilize a seed-to-sale tracking system that tracks marijuana from the moment it is cultivated, manufactured, transferred, stored, or disposed of and how low THC oil is transferred, stored, sold, dispensed, and disposed of.
Production licensees can only operate at physical locations listed in their license contracts, as per the GMCC Rules. They are prohibited from dispensing low THC oil products at their premises or giving away or receiving complimentary regulated cannabis. Any area of the production facilities shall not be sublet to other individuals or entities. Manufacturers must ensure they only produce, prepare, package, warehouse, store, or label products approved by the GMCC and must follow the rules set forth. All employees working directly with regulated marijuana shall follow hygienic practices provided by the production licensee to prevent contamination of the cannabis products.
Yes. A total amount of 20 fluid ounces or less of low THC oil may be sold to registered patients with a valid low THC registry card and registered caregivers. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) issues the registry card.
Registered patients, parents, and legal guardians may only purchase low THC oil from cannabis dispensaries licensed by the GMCC or the Georgia Board of Pharmacy. However, as of March 2023, medical cannabis oil is not yet available in the state since the GMCC has not yet issued dispensing licenses.
Low THC oil cannot be infused with food products for ingestion. It must also not be inhaled through smoking, vaping, or electronic vaping. Marijuana in plant or leaf form is prohibited. The Georgia Hope Act is only intended to protect residents from criminal prosecution for possessing the allowable amount of low THC oil for medicinal purposes.
Once dispensaries are available, the sale of cannabis products must only occur at the dispensary’s location, and the authorized agents must dispense the product in an approved and final packaging form. At least two employees must be physically present at the dispensary during all hours of operation to cater to patients and caregivers. They are responsible for the security of all low THC oil products and must provide adequate safeguards against theft or diversion of products.
The GMCC has yet to provide rules regarding the delivery of low THC oil to registered patients and caregivers. As of March 2023, the state law legalizing medical marijuana has not explicitly provided for cannabis delivery.
The DPH regulates and manages the Low THC Oil Registry, which issues a Low THC Oil identification card to qualified patients. To obtain one, an adult with one or more qualifying diseases can receive low THC oil from dispensaries. The eligible adult may designate a caregiver or legal guardian to purchase the product from retailers. Minor patients diagnosed with one or more qualifying diseases may get low THC oil through their parents or legal guardians.
The qualifying diseases are:
Seizure disorders related to epilepsy or trauma-related head injuries
Autism spectrum disorder, when
A patient is 18 years old or more, or
A patient is less than 18 years old and diagnosed with severe autism
The patient is in a hospice program, either as an outpatient or inpatient
Adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from direct exposure to or witnessing a trauma
Conditions or diseases when symptoms are severe or at end-stage
Cancer or when the treatment produces related wasting illness or recalcitrant nausea and vomiting
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Sickle cell disease
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
The patient must secure his physician’s approval that he needs low THC oil to alleviate his symptoms. The doctor must fill out these forms for the patient: Low THC Oil Waiver and the DPH Low THC Oil Physician Certification Form. Once approved, the physician shall enter the patient or caregiver’s information in the Low THC Oil Registry, and an ID shall be issued to them. The physician can register here.
The Low THC Registry card fee costs $25, payable once picked up. The card shall be valid for two years from the date of issue.
Georgia Low THC Oil Unit
Telephone: (770) 909-2765
Georgia Department of Public Health
Main Telephone: 404-657-2700
2 Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3186
The sale of low THC oil is subject to sales and use tax set by the State of Georgia and Forsyth County. The state imposes a 4% sales tax rate on the sale of tangible products. As for county-level tax, there is a mandated 3% local sales tax. Together, the sales and use tax for the sale of low THC oil in Forsyth County is at 7%.
According to House Resolution 1060, the tax on low THC medical marijuana in Georgia could generate tens of millions yearly for state coffers. Tax revenue from the fund can be used to implement substance abuse disorder (SUD) screenings, fund SUD treatment, campaign for medical marijuana education, and support marijuana health research grants.
Apart from sales and use tax, the GMCC collects license fees from licensed producers of marijuana, low THC dispensaries, and independent laboratories.
In April 2015, Haleigh’s Hope Act permitted patients with qualifying conditions in Georgia to access low THC oil but restricted cultivation and distribution. Thereafter, Georgia’s Hope Act legalized in-state cultivation and sale of low THC oil. However, selling low THC oil has not started since dispensing licenses have yet to be issued as of March 2023. Reports say that low THC oil sales could begin in 2023.
In Forsyth County, the FBI Crime Data Explorer reported 506 arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) in 2014. This figure increased to 561 arrests for the same offense in 2016, the year following the legalization of low THC oil. In 2017 and 2018, DUI arrests increased gradually to 617 and 704.
As for the illegal possession of marijuana, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office made 267 apprehensions in 2014 alone. In 2016, 358 apprehensions were recorded for unlawful possession of marijuana – higher than in previous years. By 2017 and 2018, the number of apprehensions was 278 and 284.
On the other hand, there were 36 arrests recorded for the illegal sale/manufacturing of marijuana in 2014. After that, the number of arrests dropped to 14 and 18 in 2016 and 2017. By 2018, the arrests for the same crime rose to 56.