USDA Approves Georgia Hemp Plan; HB 847 Passes Georgia House
24 March 2020
Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP
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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
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
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.
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