MACON, Ga. — On Sept. 16, the Georgia Department of Agriculture announced its intent to make changes to the state hemp program, to bring it in line with USDA rules and to address operational realities identified during initial growing seasons. The department will accept comments on the proposed rule changes until 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 18. The amended rules are expected to take effect on Jan. 2, 2022.
Proposed changes include:
• Raising the threshold for a negligent violation for growing hot hemp from .5% to 1% delta- 9 THC on a dry weight basis;
• Providing for additional methods of disposal of non-compliant cannabis, as well as provide for the possibility of remediating non-compliant cannabis.
• Expanding the harvest window from 15 days to 30 days;
• Updating sampling and testing guidelines to current USDA guidelines;
• Revising and adding definitions to conform to USDA Final Rule, which went into effect Jan. 19.
The proposed amendments conform the Hemp Rules to changes to the Georgia Hemp Farming Act established by HB 336, which became effective on May 7.
These proposed changes include:
• Clarifying that cultivation, handling, or processing of hemp in structures used for residential purposes is prohibited;
• Updating the background check process for license and permit applications;
• Creating a procedure for claims on permittee surety bonds;
• Reflecting change in processor renewal fees;
• Revisionmg definitions to conform to HB 336.
The proposed amendments make additional changes intended to better the Georgia Hemp Program based on observations during initial growing seasons.
• Allowing limited performance-based sampling for nursery growers;
• Allowing for limited amendments to licenses and permits and streamline and clarify grower and processor application requirements;
• Clarifying that hemp seed and live hemp plants are governed by the Georgia Seed Law and the Entomology Act and their respective regulations;
• Requiring a planting report;
• Expanding and clarifying signage requirements to cover all grow sites, which will facilitate smooth grower interactions with law enforcement;
• Removing repetitive transportation requirements already provided for in the Georgia Hemp Farming Act;
• Clarifying recordkeeping requirements apply to out of state contracts;
• Requiring lot labeling;
• Clarifying total THC standard and adding and revising definitions.
Public comments will be considered on Oct 20. Please submit written comments to Jamie Arrington, Hemp Program Administrator, Georgia Department of Agriculture, 1109 Experiment Street, Redding Building, Room 213, Griffin, Georgia 30223. Arrington may be reached at 404-586-1140 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested persons may call or submit a written request to obtain a copy of the proposed rule changes. A copy of the synopsis and the proposed rule changes may be downloaded from the Georgia Department of Agriculture website at http://agr.georgia.gov/notice-of-intent-to-amend-hemp-rules.aspx.
–Georgia Farm Bureau