Georgia Hemp Bill Awaits Governor’s Decision

Home » Georgia Hemp Bill Awaits Governor’s Decision
Garry Stewart
Written By Steve Brandon

April 25, 2024

Table of Content
  1. Introduction
  2. Take Away
georgia hemp bill awaits governor's decision

A new rule about hemp products is waiting for Governor Brian Kemp to decide. It says only people aged 21 and above can buy hemp products. Following successful approval by state lawmakers in this year’s session, the bill, connected to “The Georgia Hemp Farming Act” and sponsored by Republican Senator Sam Watson, mandates testing for all hemp-derived items, encompassing CBD and Delta-8 edibles and beverages. It also bars sales to minors.

On April 4, the Senate forwarded the bill to the governor, who has until May 7 to decide whether to sign it into law, reject it, or let it pass into law without any action.

The governor’s spokesperson, Garrison Douglas, explained, “After the General Assembly ends its session, the Governor has 40 days to decide on legislation. During this period, all bills that were approved undergo a detailed review.”

Watson argues that the bill represents progress in protecting consumers, comparing the regulation of hemp products to that of other consumables like tobacco and alcohol. He stresses the importance of preventing children from accidentally accessing products infused with marijuana.

Conversely, opponents urge Gov. Kemp to stop the bill from becoming law. Gaylord Lopez of the Georgia Poison Center criticizes the legislation, expressing concern over the increase in children falling ill from Delta-8. Lopez contends that the bill effectively legalizes marijuana sales and fails to adequately protect consumers.

From within the cannabis industry, groups like the Georgia Medical Cannabis Society are urging Kemp to reject the bill. Yolanda Bennett, a co-founder of the society, believes that increased regulation and testing will harm small businesses. She said, “Consumers and retailers won’t afford it, processors will go out of business, and farmers will abandon hemp for other crops.”

georgia hemp bill awaits governor's decision

The bill aims to close the THCA loophole through testing, which might restrict the medical marijuana industry in Georgia. There are worries about how law enforcement might react if the governor approves the bill. Tom Church, an Atlanta lawyer for hemp vendors, fears that sheriffs could unfairly target legal CBD sellers.

Watson sees the bill as a starting point for regulating hemp in Georgia. Conversely, Lopez urges the Legislature to address loopholes permitting hemp derivatives to flood the market. Lopez emphasized the need for awareness, stating, “Our legislators oppose marijuana legalization, but they seem unaware that hemp can be turned into marijuana. We must make them more informed to prevent further poisonings.”

Take Away

Georgia’s new hemp rules are waiting for Governor Kemp’s decision. If he says yes, only adults over 21 can buy hemp products. Senator Watson and others think it’s a good idea because it makes sure hemp stuff is safe and keeps it away from kids. But some people, like Lopez, worry it could lead to more problems. They want the governor to say no. If the governor signs it, cops might start treating legal CBD sellers like criminals. That’s why some folks are nervous. But on the other hand, Watson thinks this is just the first step in making hemp safer in Georgia. Lopez wants to fix problems before they happen.

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