Cannabis cultivation in Hall County is legal but only for medical cannabis with low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content by virtue of the State of Georgia’s Haleigh’s Hope Act of 2015 or Georgia House Bill 1 (HB 1), and its update in Georgia HB 324 of 2018. Low-THC cannabis has THC content lower than 5%, as defined by HB 1.
To legally cultivate low-THC medical cannabis in Hall County, a company is required to apply to the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission (GMCC) for a production license that is Class 1 or Class 2. A licensee may only hold either one. The Commission will grant only two licenses for Class 1 and four for Class 2. Both are required to cultivate their medical cannabis crops only indoors.
The Class 1 production license authorizes a medical cannabis growing area of up to 100,000 square feet. The following fees must be paid, which may not be waived, refunded, or transferred:
Application fee: $25,000
Initial licensing fee: $200,000
Yearly license renewal fee: $100,000
Every time a Class 1 license is sold, transfer fees are due, as follows:
First sale: $100,000
Second Sale: $150,000
Third Sale: $200,000
Fourth Sale: $200,000
The Class 2 production license authorizes a medical cannabis growing area of only up to 50,000 square feet. The following fees are due, all of which may likewise not be waived, refunded, or transferred:
Application fee: $5,000
Initial licensing fee: $100,000
Yearly license renewal fee: $50,000
Every time a Class 2 license is sold, transfer fees must be paid, as follows:
First sale: $12,500
Second Sale: $62,500
Third Sale: $112,500
Fourth Sale: $112,500
Production license applications for Class 1 and Class 2 closed on January 27, 2021. The GMCC approved, on September 21, 2022, two Class 1 production licenses. The holders were given up to September 2023 to begin their operations. There have been no approvals for Class 2 production licenses as of March 2023.
All facilities of Class 1 and Class 2 production license holders must be located not less than 3,000 feet from any school, childcare establishment, or public worship place. The GMCC and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation may inspect the facilities separately every year. Inspections by local law enforcement authorities of the municipality or the county must also be immediately accommodated.
Class 1 and Class 2 production licensees are prohibited by HB 324 from applying on their cultivated medical cannabis crops any artificial pesticides that the Georgia Department of Agriculture regulates. A tracking system must be implemented for the monitoring and recording of their low-THC medical cannabis inventory from the time each batch is planted to the time each batch is trimmed, dried, cured, extracted of oil, and any waste disposed of.
Cannabis manufacturing in Hall County is legal only for the production of low-THC medical cannabis oil as mandated by HB 1 and HB 324 in the State of Georgia. The same Class 1 or Class 2 production license that authorizes low-THC medical cannabis cultivation also authorizes the extraction of low-THC medical cannabis oil out of the harvest. Hence, the same requirements for the licensing application process, fees, location restrictions, inspections, and inventory tracking system apply.
Class 1 and Class 2 production license holders are required to submit representative samples from every batch of low-THC medical cannabis oil they produce to a GMCC-certified independent testing laboratory. The samples will be checked for THC content and the presence of any solvent residuals, heavy metals, pathogens, pesticides, and other signs of contamination. If a sample fails the test, its batch must be promptly destroyed and the production licensee must submit proof of its destruction to the GMCC.
HB 324 explicitly bans vaporization as a method of taking low-THC medical cannabis oil. Hence, Class 1 and Class 2 production license holders are not permitted to manufacture low-THC medical cannabis oil meant for use in vaporizers.
Cannabis retail in Hall County is legal, but only for selling low-THC medical cannabis oil to medical marijuana cardholders as stipulated by Georgia HB 1 and Georgia HB 324. To do this, a company must apply to the GMCC for a low-THC medical cannabis dispensing license. The application fee is $5,000. The dispensing license fee and annual license renewal fee depend on the county tier, as follows:
Dispensing license fee:
Tier 1 County: $15,000
Tier 2 County: $20,000
Tier 3 County: $25,000
Tier 4 County: $30,000
Annual license fee renewal:
Tier 1 County: $25,000
Tier 2 County: $30,000
Tier 3 County: $35,000
Tier 4 County: $40,000
No low-THC medical cannabis dispensary license has been issued by the GMCC as of March 2023.
According to the 2023 GMCC Annual Report, HB 1 authorizes the Commission to grant Class 1 and Class 2 production license holders the right to each have five low-THC medical cannabis dispensaries. The GMCC is also authorized to add one more dispensary per licensee once the number of patients in the Low THC Oil Registry of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reaches 25,000. They can further add another dispensary per licensee for every 10,000 patients added to the registry. In 2022, the number of registered patients already exceeded 25,000.
There is no mention of the legality of delivering low-THC medical cannabis oil to medical marijuana cardholders in Georgia HB 1 and Georgia HB 324.
HB 324 only states that it is legal to transport low-THC medical cannabis and its products between licensed medical cannabis businesses as long as tight security measures are in place.
Residents of Hall County may apply to the State of Georgia’s DPH for a medical marijuana card to be included in the Low-THC Oil Registry. They must first download the Low-THC Oil Waiver and the DPH Low-THC Oil Physician Certification forms from the registry website.
With these in hand, they must undergo a physical examination by a state-licensed medical or osteopathic doctor who is a member of good standing of the Georgia Composite Medical Board, and be diagnosed to have any of the following qualifying ailments:
Severe Tourette’s syndrome
Severe autism in persons younger than 18
PTSD from trauma in persons aged 18 and above
Autism spectrum disorder in persons aged 18 and older
Parkinson’s disease (end-stage or severe)
AIDS (end-stage or severe)
Cachexia or intractable nausea and vomiting from cancer treatment
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (end-stage or severe)
Multiple sclerosis (end-stage or severe)
Peripheral neuropathy (end-stage or severe)
Alzheimer’s disease (end-stage or severe)
Sickle cell disease (end-stage or severe)
Ailments that require hospice care
The patient must sign the waiver allowing the doctor to submit the completed and signed physician's certification to the registry online. The physician's certification will indicate any need for a caregiver, who could be the parent or legal guardian of the patient. The patient may request a copy of both forms which will be kept by the doctor.
The processing of the medical marijuana card takes approximately 15 days. Once ready, the registry will contact the patient and caregiver so they could indicate the location of the public health office where it would be most convenient for them to pick up their respective cards. During the pickup, they will each have to pay a $25 fee.
The medical marijuana card’s validity period is two years and is renewable. It allows the holder to purchase from a licensed dispensary and possess low-THC medical cannabis oil of not more than 20 fluid ounces.
Queries may be sent to the following:
Georgia Department of Health
2 Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404) 657-2700
HB 324 states that gross sales of low-THC medical cannabis oil must be subject to sales tax and use tax. No percentage rate has yet been set, though. Meanwhile, the GMCC is required to submit to the state all fees charged to low-THC medical cannabis businesses.
The GMCC’s 2022 Annual Report stated that it collected $765,000 from application fees in FY21 and projected a collection of $800,000 for FY22. In its 2023 Annual Report, the GMCC stated that as of January 1, 2023, it had already collected $400,000 from Class 1 production license fees alone to be included in FY23 figures. The Commission projects total FY23 collections to reach $1.28 million from Class 1 and Class 2 production license fees, dispensary license application fees and license fees, and the registration fees of independent testing laboratories.
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2015 in Hall County but, as of March 2023, the retail selling of the allowed low-THC medical cannabis oil has not yet started.
Data from the Hall County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that a year before medical cannabis legalization, in 2014, there were 195 marijuana offense arrests, with 159 for possession and 36 for manufacturing or sales.
A year after medical cannabis legislation, in 2016, there were 254 marijuana offense arrests, with 202 for possession and 52 for manufacturing or sales.
In the latest available data, in 2021, there were 52 marijuana offense arrests, with 49 for possession and three for manufacturing or sales.
The following were the DUI arrests in those years:
2014: 211 arrests
2016: 373 arrests
2021: 357 arrests