Georgia Gun Rights for Medical Cannabis Patients
Table of Contents
In 2015, Georgia took its first steps into the realm of medical marijuana with the introduction of House Bill 1 (HB 1) also known as Haleigh’s Hope Act. This legislation established a patient ID card registry and identified eight medical conditions that would qualify patients for legal access to low-THC medical cannabis products. The law put a limit on the THC content (the compound responsible for the “high”) at 5%, ensuring that the therapeutic benefits could be experienced without the psychoactive effects.
The law also required a balanced CBD-to-THC ratio of at least 1:1 in the products. However, the issue of how patients could access these products within the state was not addressed.
Over the next few years, Georgia’s medical marijuana program saw expansion. Senate Bill 16 (SB 16) emerged in 2017, bringing in six new qualifying medical conditions. In 2018, the state continued to broaden its scope by adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions. These inclusions indicated a growing understanding of the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis for a broader range of health conditions beyond its initial applications.
The turning point for Georgia’s medical cannabis program arrived in 2019 with the passage of House Bill 324 (HB 324). This legislation marked a significant shift by allowing the cultivation and distribution of low-THC medical cannabis products within the state. Patients could now access the prescribed products without the logistical challenges of acquiring them from out-of-state sources.
In 2020, Georgia took another step by gaining approval for its hemp production program from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This approval enabled in-state cultivation of hemp, a plant rich in CBD. This move aimed to boost the supply of CBD oil, potentially making it more accessible and affordable for medical cannabis patients in Georgia.
In 2019, Georgia took a notable step forward by enacting Georgia’s Hope Act, building upon the foundation laid by the 2015 Haleigh’s Hope Act. This legislation permits the possession and use of low-THC oil derived from cannabis for qualified patients. Specifically, the law allows for the possession of up to 20 ounces of low-THC oil, which contains no more than 5% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and a balanced amount of cannabidiol (CBD). These measures ensure that patients can experience potential therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive effects associated with higher THC levels.
Access to medical marijuana in Georgia is restricted to individuals diagnosed with specific medical conditions. These conditions range from chronic pain and epilepsy to cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder. To become part of the state’s medical cannabis program, patients need to possess Georgia Low-THC Oil Registry cards.
Qualified patients — as well as parents or legal guardians of minors with qualifying conditions — can obtain these registry cards by following a thorough application process. Physicians play a pivotal role by certifying patients and initiating the application process. As of fall 2023, the cards are valid for two years upon issuance, and a reasonable fee of $25 is charged. Following the 2-year period, cardholders should schedule another consultation with their physician to assess their ongoing eligibility and to request the physician’s confirmation and update of their personal information in the registry.
Despite the passage of Georgia’s Hope Act and subsequent amendments, the state’s medical marijuana program still faces limitations. Legislative sessions in 2023 witnessed bills aimed at decriminalizing possession of small amounts of cannabis for adults, but unfortunately, these proposals were not successful. Georgia’s two-year legislative cycle provides opportunities for revisiting bills, giving hope for progress in 2024.
Does Having a Medical Cannabis Card (Low-THC Card) Mean Not Being Eligible for a Gun License in Georgia?
In Georgia, possessing a Low THC Oil Registry Card — which allows individuals to use low-THC oil for medical purposes — is legal under state law. However, it’s crucial to understand that the conflict between state and federal laws can have implications for gun ownership.
Under federal law — specifically the Gun Control Act of 1968 — it is illegal for individuals who are “unlawful users of or addicted to any controlled substance” to possess firearms. Because marijuana — including low-THC oil — is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, anyone who uses marijuana — even for medical purposes and in compliance with state law — could potentially be considered an “unlawful user” of a controlled substance by federal authorities.
This means that if you have a Low THC Oil Registry Card in Georgia, it could be seen as evidence of marijuana use by federal agencies, which may affect your eligibility to purchase or possess firearms under federal law. In practice, this has led to instances where individuals with such cards have been denied the right to buy firearms from federally licensed dealers.
It’s important to note that enforcement of federal laws regarding gun ownership and marijuana use can vary. Some states have adopted policies that prioritize state laws over federal laws in these situations, but these policies can also change over time.
To navigate this complex issue, it’s strongly recommended that individuals consult with legal counsel who are well-versed in both federal and Georgia state laws regarding marijuana use and gun ownership.
Can You Take Your Gun to a Dispensary in Georgia?
In Georgia, the regulations regarding taking a gun to a dispensary, particularly a medical marijuana dispensary, are complex and require careful consideration of both state and federal laws.
Georgia law does not explicitly address the issue of taking firearms to dispensaries, including medical marijuana dispensaries. However, it’s essential to be aware of certain key points. Dispensaries that provide medical marijuana are subject to strict state regulations, and access is typically limited to registered patients and their caregivers. While Georgia’s medical marijuana program allows qualified individuals to access low-THC oil, it’s crucial to remember that federal law still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits the possession of firearms by individuals who are considered “unlawful users of or addicted to any controlled substance.” This includes marijuana, even for medical purposes.
Under federal law, bringing a firearm to a medical marijuana dispensary may potentially expose individuals to legal consequences, as they could be seen as possessing a firearm while using a controlled substance, even if permitted by state law.
In practical terms, this means that while Georgia state law may not explicitly prohibit firearms in dispensaries, federal law can come into play, potentially putting individuals in a legally precarious position if they possess both a firearm and medical marijuana.
Can You Consume CBD and Own a Gun in Georgia?
Georgia allows the purchase and possession of hemp-derived CBD oil, provided it contains less than 0.3% THC. This legal framework aligns with the federal changes brought about by the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances. As a result, individuals in Georgia can legally consume CBD without facing state-level penalties.
Firearm ownership in Georgia is generally regulated by both state and federal laws. The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits the possession of firearms by individuals considered “unlawful users of or addicted to any controlled substance.” Federal law still classifies marijuana that includes its psychoactive component THC as a Schedule I controlled substance. Since CBD can be derived from both hemp and marijuana plants, this is where the complexity arises.
While Georgia state law does not explicitly address the relationship between CBD consumption and firearm ownership, it’s important to recognize that federal law may still apply. If you are using CBD that is derived from marijuana or contains significant THC levels, you could potentially be deemed an “unlawful user” under federal law. This could affect your eligibility to own or possess firearms.
However, if you are consuming hemp-derived CBD oil with THC levels below 0.3%, you are likely compliant with both state and federal regulations. Choose your CBD products and verify their THC content carefully to ensure they meet legal standards.
Can I Own a Gun if My Spouse Has A Medical Cannabis Card in Georgia?
Owning a gun when your spouse has a medical cannabis card in Georgia can be a complex and legally ambiguous situation. It’s important to remember that while there may not be a specific state law addressing this scenario, federal laws still apply and can potentially impact firearm ownership.
It is possible that the federal government could argue that you are living in a household with someone considered an “unlawful user” of a controlled substance. This could potentially raise concerns regarding your own eligibility to possess firearms under federal law.
The ambiguity arises from the conflict between state and federal laws. While Georgia allows for medical marijuana use under certain conditions, federal law still criminalizes it. This inconsistency can create legal uncertainty.
Given the potential legal complexity and ambiguity in such situations, it is advisable to consult with legal experts who are well-versed in both state and federal firearms laws.
Can I Own a Gun if I Have an Expired Medical Card?
Owning a gun when you have an expired medical cannabis card in Georgia can still be a legally complex situation, even though there may not be a specific state law addressing this scenario.
Depending on the circumstances and interpretations of federal law, having had a medical cannabis card in the past — even if it is now expired — could potentially be used to argue that you were once an “unlawful user” of a controlled substance. This could affect your eligibility to possess firearms under federal law.
If you intend to continue using medical marijuana, it’s important to stay compliant with state laws regarding medical cannabis cards. Renewing your card according to state regulations can help ensure you are following the legal requirements.
It’s important to note that laws and regulations can change over time, and interpretations of the law can vary. Seeking legal counsel is the best way to ensure that you fully understand and comply with all relevant laws.
Can You Own a Gun if You Work at a Dispensary?
Working at a low-THC oil dispensary in Georgia can potentially have implications for your ability to own a gun, primarily due to federal laws. This may raise questions about whether you could be considered an “unlawful user” of a controlled substance, given the association with THC-containing products. This potential conflict between state and federal law can create legal ambiguity.
To navigate this complex issue, consult with local legal experts who are knowledgeable about both state and federal firearms laws.
Get Your Georgia Medical Cannabis Card in Minutes
Back to Directory