Georgia: Governor Signs Legislation into Law Expanding Access to Low-THC Medical Cannabis

Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed legislation into law last week, Senate Bill 195, permitting the establishment of up to 30 state-licensed retailers of high-CBD/low-THC oil products to qualified patients. 

The new law takes effect on July 1, 2021.

Under a 2015 state law, qualified patients are exempt from criminal prosecution for the possession of oil extracts containing not more than 5 percent THC and an amount of CBD equal to or greater than that amount. However, the law failed to provide any mechanism for patients to obtain low-THC products from a state-regulated producer or provider.

About 15,000 Georgians are registered under the law to qualify for the use of high-CBD/low-THC oils. 

In 2019, lawmakers enacted separate legislation, House Bill 324 (aka Georgia’s Hope Act), establishing a regulatory commission to oversee the eventual “production, manufacturing, and dispensing” of products possessing specified quantities of plant-derived THC and CBD. 

State regulators are expected in the coming months to award licenses to eligible applicants to begin cultivating cannabis and manufacturing oil extract products. Senate Bill 195 permits those awarded production licenses to also possess up to five retail dispensing licenses.