Mar 13, 2020

USDA Approves Georgia Hemp Plan; HB 847 Passes Georgia House

Hemp License to Grow

On Tuesday, March 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Georgia’s Hemp Plan, allowing the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) to begin the licensing of hemp growing and processing in the State of Georgia.  The GDA will begin accepting online applications for Hemp Grower Licenses on March 23.  A license fee of $50/acre (maximum $5,000) must be paid when GDA approves the license.  For more information on the Georgia Hemp Plan, see here.  The GDA’s rules for hemp grower license requirements are here.

GDA had already made the Hemp Processor online application available on March 2.  The initial application fee for a Processor Permit is $25,000, with an annual renewal fee of $10,000.  An applicant must support its application with several supporting documents.  A list of the required documents can be found here, an application guide can be found here, and the Processor Permit application can be found here.

Also within the last week:  the Georgia House of Representatives passed HB 847, containing several amendments to the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, on March 5 by a vote of 159-7.  The most significant proposed amendments are:

  • A definition of “Key Participant” meaning a sole proprietor, partner in a partnership, CEO, COO, CFO or any “other individual identified in regulations promulgated by” GDA, and a requirement for a background check and fingerprinting of Key Participants in proposed hemp grower or processor licensees.
  • An addition to the definition of “process” or “processing” to make it clear that “merely placing raw or dried material into another container or packaging raw or dried material for resale” is not processing.
  • A provision that colleges and universities of the University of Georgia and other “institutions of higher education” as defined by federal law can engage contractors to “cultivate, handle, and process hemp when assisting such college or university” in researching hemp.
  • Specific requirements for documentation when shipping, transporting, or otherwise delivering hemp or hemp products into, within or through Georgia, including proof that the hemp or hemp product was grown and produced in compliance with federal and the applicable State’s or Native American Tribe’s law, and meets the definition of hemp under Georgia and federal law.

The legislation is now in the Georgia Senate’s Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.

For more information, contact Steve O’Day.

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