Bill addressing hemp possession, licenses passes Georgia House
A bill passed Thursday clearing up who is allowed to possess hemp following questions created by legislation enacted last year.
The state’s 2019 hemp farming law caused an unintended quandary for Georgia prosecutors. Some, including Gwinnett County Solicitor Brian Whiteside, decided to stop prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases because the hemp plant and marijuana are virtually identical.
House Bill 847 requires people to have farming or processing licenses in order to possess hemp in Georgia, but does not tie criminal consequences to those found with the substance unlicensed. An earlier version of the bill had criminal penalties identical to those for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Because the penalties were removed from the bill, it would not fully resolve the questions some prosecutors have raised, said Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Nelly Miles.