There are many uses for hemp, not to be confused with its doppelgänger marijuana. They both fall under the cannabis family of plants. Hemp however is used in the making of rope, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel to name a few and probably won’t get you high if you smoke it. For those health and jiujitsu enthusiasts, you probably already know it’s a great source of plant-based protein and very strong gis. Thus, the Georgia legislature’s decision to allow for the farming of hemp within the State.
If you’re wondering how Hemp is different from Marijuana, you wouldn’t be the first to mistake the plant for its cousin. https://www.tmj4.com/news/local-news/men-arrested-for-stealing-hemp-after-mistaking-it-for-marijuana.
The difference, as far as the law in Georgia is concerned, comes down to the levels of THC found in the plants. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the active substance found in Marijuana which produces the high achieved by smoking or ingesting it. Someone seeking to enjoy the effects of smoking marijuana would likely be highly disappointed with a hemp substitute (aside from potential placebo effects).
The Official Code of Georgia, Title 2, Chapter 23, refers to the Federally defined levels of THC for Hemp as a concentration of not more than .3 percent on a dry weight basis. 7 U.S.C.S. § 5940. Depending on who you ask, the most common forms of marijuana have anywhere from 3.4 to 9.6 percent THC content, over 10 times the THC of hemp. https://archives.drugabuse.gov/rise-in-marijuanas-thc-levels.
But before you go planting hemp seeds, keep in mind that the new Georgia law requires anyone cultivating, handling, or processing hemp to have a Department of Agriculture issued grower license or processor permit.
If you are stopped with either form of cannabis, keep in mind that you don’t have to make the State’s case for them. In fact, you don’t have to answer their questions. You have a right to remain silent and if you are the focus of a criminal investigation, you should do so until you’ve been advised by a defense attorney. By giving your consent to search or confessing, you may be waiving certain arguments that could work in your favor. Keep in mind the State is not required to advise you of your right to remain silent until you are under arrest and being interrogated or questioned by law enforcement. Be polite, be courteous, but respectfully decline to answer any questions until you’ve spoken with an attorney.