On Friday, May 10, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the Georgia Hemp Farming Act into law, legalizing the licensing of industrial hemp growers in the state. The law sets forth the requirements for grower licenses and processor permits, which will be administered by the state Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture has not yet promulgated the application forms for grower licenses and processer permits, and is currently working on developing rules and regulations governing hemp production and the application process. Growing and processing hemp without a license remains illegal.
Grower licenses will be issued for one calendar year, at a cost of $50 per acre up to a $5,000 maximum license fee. Applicants for grower licenses must be qualified agricultural producers as defined in O.C.G.A. § 48-8-3.3 and must submit, among other things: a legal description and GPS coordinates of the fields and greenhouses where the hemp will be grown; written consent allowing the Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to enter onto the premises where hemp is grown or harvested for the purpose of conducting inspections; and a criminal background check. Unless the grower also has a processing permit, the grower must provide the name of the processing permittee with whom it will be contracting and an affidavit wherein both parties swear that they have established such a relationship.
Processing permits will be issued on an annual basis at an annual fee of $25,000 for the first year, and $10,000 for each year thereafter. Applicants for processing permits must provide, among other things: a legal description and GPS coordinates of the processing facilities; written consent allowing the Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to enter onto the premises where hemp is grown or harvested for the purpose of conducting inspections; a criminal background check; and a surety bond of $100,000. Processors who do not also possess a growing license must also provide the name of the grower with whom they have contracted and an affidavit.