History of CBD and Cannabis: Georgia
In terms of cannabis legislation, Georgia is considered a “patch work state”. Over the past two decades, a growing number of municipalities have outright challenged the state’s conventional wisdom on cannabis regulation.
On the state level, cannabis and its derivatives are completely illegal for recreational use with limited medical use available for CBD oils high in THC. Moreover, possession is considered a criminal offence that can incur high fines, over a year of jail time, and a record that bars former felons from certain employment opportunities.
Locally, the story is much different. In October of 2017, the Atlanta city council voted unanimously to reduce the penalty for possessing one ounce of cannabis to a mere $75 fine.
Later that year, other cities quickly followed the example set by Atlanta. Savannah City Council passed a resolution that also reduced fines, while at least nine other cities implemented similar decriminalization and cannabis friendly policies. Clarkston, South Fulton, Chamblee, and Kingsland are among the cities that have challenged statewide policy.
Cannabis, CBD, and Georgia
Though Georgia has only recently become a case study for the path towards decriminalization in a Red state, it took over twenty years before municipal efforts would amount to meaningful decriminalization.
Interestingly enough, the state legislature actually voted nearly unanimously to approve a legal medical marijuana bill way back in the eighties. Georgian residents diagnosed with glaucoma and those suffering from chemotherapy induced illness would legally have access to cannabis.
However, the program ended before even one patient could ever receive any medical marijuana. Unfortunately, the bill relied on local leaders appointing an authority to a medical marijuana board; however, no governors ever made the effort to establish the board.
It would take until mid 2015 for another medical cannabis law to get into the books. Under Haleigh’s Hope act, cannabis oil with up to 5 percent THC content would be legal for those with qualifying medical conditions.
This bill was distinct because the legislature finally took establishing a regulatory framework around CBD oil seriously. The Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, and a newly appointed committee all worked to effectively service the program.
Georgia is among the few Southern states who has started to advocate for relatively pro-cannabis policy. It’s now easier than ever for consumers to get access to legal, low THC CBD treatments from any vendor who carries the treatment.
It will be interesting to see if the state government ever challenges municipalities lax attitudes towards cannabis regulation. Georgia could be providing a replicable model for other states to follow on their paths towards pro-CBD and cannabis policy.