Georgia sets higher processing fees, out-of-state sales with new hemp law

Regulations for Georgia’s new hemp industry are now in effect, allowing out-of-state hemp sales, hiking processing fees, and implementing transportation rules.

Hemp processors would need to pay a $25,000 permit fee to the state Department of Agriculture on the first year and $50,000 every subsequent year. The fees are much higher than what Georgia set last year at $10,000 when it legalized growing hemp, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Thursday.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the legislation July 22, and it immediately became law.

Transporting hemp now requires appropriate paperwork, too. One of the law’s aims is to clear up confusion during traffic stops when an officer needs to distinguish between hemp and marijuana, which can look and smell identical. With paperwork, officers can avoid having to test a plant for THC.

Anyone who has hemp without a license would face the same penalties as marijuana possession in Georgia, including jail time and fines. Background checks and fingerprinting would also be required of owners or executives of hemp growing or research operations.