Bill To License Hemp Farmers, Sellers Passes Georgia Senate

The hemp measure now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk for his signature

Hemp farmers and sellers would need a license to possess the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana under legislation that passed the General Assembly on Monday.

House Bill 847 requires anyone cultivating, transporting or selling hemp to hold a license just like for other agricultural products. Anyone caught with hemp who does not have a proper license would face the same penalties as for marijuana possession in Georgia.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Corbett, R-Lake Park, follows passage last year of a measure that legalized the growing, processing and transport of hemp. It cleared the state Senate on Monday by a 34-13 vote with several Democratic lawmakers voting against it.

The hemp measure now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk for his signature.

States have rushed into the hemp business in recent years to take advantage of its many commercial uses, including the manufacture of rope, textiles and CBD oil used to treat a variety of illnesses.

But how to distinguish the leafy green substance from cannabis, which is illegal to possess, has tripped up law enforcement representatives and criminal justice reform advocates concerned about conducting traffic stops.

Corbett’s bill aims to clear up concerns over expensive testing of hemp during traffic stops by requiring official paperwork rather than forcing law enforcement agencies to test for THC, the chemical that produces a high that legally must be below a 3% content amount.

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