THC Oil – How Bad Is Getting Caught with It?
Georgia is still serious about the use or possession of marijuana and THC products. While limited amounts of “low THC oil” are legal for certain persons with specific medical conditions if they are registered with the state of Georgia, using or possessing oils with higher concentrations of THC are still against the law and can carry stiff penalties.
When it comes to low THC oil, Georgia is strict about compliance with the law. Possession of more than the maximum allowable amount of low THC oil by a registered user or caregiver is illegal. And possession or use by someone not registered with the state is always a crime.
What Is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the main mind-altering compound found in cannabis, or marijuana. While a Georgia resident might be able to legally purchase THC wax and enjoy THC-infused foods at restaurants when visiting other states, possession and use become illegal when back on Georgia soil. If caught with THC oil or wax, the criminal charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the concentration and the amount of THC you are caught carrying. Most THC products brought from other states contain felony concentrations.
When Use of Low THC Oil Is Legal
Low THC oil is defined as an oil that contains an amount of “cannabidiol and not more than 5 percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid which does not contain plant material exhibiting the external morphological features of the plant of the genus Cannabis.”
Qualified persons can legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces if they are registered with the Georgia Department of Public Health . The low THC oil must be carried in a pharmaceutical container labeled by the manufacturer stating the amount of THC, and the registered carrier must possess their registration card at all times. Patients with specific medical conditions, or their legal guardians, cannot apply directly for a low THC oil registry card. The application must instead be filed by a treating physician. The law lists 17 medical conditions that qualify, including cancer, Parkinson’s, seizure disorders, and Tourette’s syndrome.
The state is strict about the quantity a registered patient or guardian can possess. If someone is caught with more than 20 ounces but less than 160 ounces, regardless of whether or not they are registered to carry low amounts, the offense is a felony with one to 10 years of prison if convicted. If caught carrying 160 ounces or more, the charges fall under trafficking and can result in up to 20 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $1 million if convicted. Anyone not registered with the state who is caught carrying 20 ounces or less of low THC oil faces a misdemeanor charge with up to 12 months in jail as penalty.
Higher Percentages Are Illegal
Oils with more than 5% tetrahydrocannabinol, as well as THC waxes, are illegal in Georgia and result in a felony charge if caught. Anyone convicted faces penalties that range from a year in jail for less than one ml or mg to 15 years or more, depending on the amount.
CALL OUR EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS AT GHANOUNI TEEN & YOUNG ADULT DEFENSE FIRM
If you, or your child, have been charged with possession of THC oil or low THC oil, call us for assistance. The experienced attorneys at Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm can evaluate the charges and provide clarity on available options. Reach out to us at 770-720-6336 for a complimentary Defense Strategy Meeting .
You Probably Shouldn’t Bring CBD Oil to an Airport
The substance’s sudden ubiquity might make it seem perfectly legal. Federal law enforcement sees things differently.
Most Americans probably know it’s a bad idea to bring weed to the airport. Cannabis has been federally illegal since the 1930s, and one of modern air travel’s most prominent features is the layers of federal law-enforcement inspection one must traverse in order to board a plane. Even in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, carrying too much of it through TSA can get you arrested; the agency’s official policy is that travelers can’t even bring medically prescribed cannabis through security.
But what about cannabidiol? CBD, as it’s more commonly known, can be derived from both hemp and marijuana plants, and it has exploded in popularity among American consumers in the past two years as a purported salve for almost any ailment you can think of, including anxiety, chronic pain, inflammation, nausea, epilepsy, and acne. It can be eaten, vaped, or applied to the body in lotion, and even Coca-Cola has shown interest in entering the market. But like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC—the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana—CBD exists in a state of conflicting legality, depending on your jurisdiction.
CBD doesn’t get you high, and products containing it can be bought on websites and in storefronts across America, which has lent the chemical a veneer of consumer normalcy that belies its purgatorial legal status. CBD oil gets squirted into lattes and baked into vegan brownies, and it’s added to calming treats for nervous pets. But no matter how legal and mundane it might seem in your local health-food store or bakery, CBD’s quasi-contraband status and nonexistent regulatory standards mean that you should probably leave it out of your carry-on.
According to local news reports, consumer confusion over CBD has had serious consequences for travelers at the Dallas airport. Federal authorities at the airport told the Dallas–Fort Worth NBC affiliate KXAS that the CBD interception rate has “skyrocketed” in the past year, although it’s not clear how often people are being intercepted, or if other airports are dealing with similar spikes. A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told me that there was no immediately apparent nationwide trend. But some of the incidents in Dallas have resulted in felony charges.
That doesn’t surprise Griffen Thorne, a Los Angeles–based lawyer at the firm Harris Bricken, where he specializes in cannabis law. “Until the law is very, very clear, people are going to get arrested for possession of things that aren’t explicitly illegal,” he says. “Federal authorities in general are much less likely to let people off the hook” than local law enforcement.
The 2018 Farm Bill, which passed in December and was hailed as a win for CBD advocates, may also lead some fliers to feel an unwarranted comfort in traveling with the substance. The bill legalized hemp cultivation throughout the United States, which will allow CBD to be produced on an industrial scale, hastening the commoditization of the substance as a lifestyle product or pharmaceutical ingredient. But just because growing hemp is legal doesn’t mean that there are no restrictions on its derivatives.
“There’s nothing in [the Farm Bill] that explicitly protects consumers,” Thorne says, which leaves CBD’s legality as a consumer product up to interpretation. That’s also a problem in lower jurisdictions. The New York City Department of Health, for example, recently made it clear that the city will penalize restaurants that put CBD in food, but so far, shops are still allowed to sell oils or creams containing the chemical. Earlier this year, the pharmacy mega-chain CVS announced it would roll out CBD products to 800 of its American stores.
CBD derived from hemp is usually the source of products found outside regulated marijuana dispensaries, but Thorne says the distinction is complicated under federal law and may not be immediately apparent to individual law-enforcement officers. Although CBD is no longer a schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, the Food and Drug Administration, for example, considers all CBD products illegal no matter their source. (A TSA spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, although the agency told The New York Times that it is generally focused on looking for national-security threats, not small amounts of recreational drugs.)
The lack of clear regulatory oversight is another reason that travelers might have trouble with airport authorities. There’s no governing body to set standards on CBD purity or labeling, which means that products marketed as CBD could contain more than enough THC to attract the attention of a drug dog and pass chemical testing that would characterize them as marijuana under the law. That was the case with at least one of the Dallas arrests, according to the CBP, which didn’t comment further.
Thorne says little can be done on the consumer end to guarantee what’s in your CBD: “It’s kind of a dangerous game when you’re walking through an airport and you’re taking a risk that something either is or is not federally illegal.” He emphasized that hidden THC, rather than confusion over CBD’s legality itself, is what travelers should really be worried about, and that lack of intention to possess THC wouldn’t get them off the hook. “It’s sort of like speeding in a car,” Thorne says. “If you say, ‘I didn’t know I was speeding,’ you’re probably still going to get in trouble.”
These concerns are especially salient for international travelers. Thorne says that even fliers leaving from states that have legalized recreational marijuana should be conscious of how laws differ in their destination country, and people trying to enter the United States with a questionable CBD product could get in far more trouble than a simple possession charge. For noncitizens, possessing THC while trying to enter a U.S. port could lead to felony charges or deportation.
For nervous fliers, CBD legal worries might be especially cruel. Although science is just starting to examine the substance’s effects on the body, CBD has found one of its most ardent markets among people who say it calms their anxiety. Air travel is a common trigger for panic attacks and spiking anxiety levels, but until federal cannabis law is settled, it might be best simply to white-knuckle your next flight.
“The best thing for consumers to do is just not to bring it into any federal jurisdiction, period,” Thorne says. “Especially anywhere on a plane.”
Ohio man facing two felony possession of drug charges for cannabidiol oil
MANSFIELD – A jury trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 28 in Richland County Common Pleas Court for a Lewis Center man who is facing felony drug charges for an item he bought legally in a store for anxiety.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is not legal in Ohio. But because hemp is legally grown in some states under the 2014 farm bill, it has been allowed to proliferate in a legal gray area and it’s rarely enforced.
Robert Faulkner, 31, of Lewis Center, was indicted by the Richland County grand jury in June 2018 on two charges of aggravated possession of drugs, both felonies of the fifth degree. The charges stemmed from a July 2017 DUI arrest in Ontario when officers found a vial of CBD oil on the passenger seat.
“I had bought it a week before in a head shop in Columbus,” Faulkner said Wednesday. He said the one-fluid ounce bottle was half full.
Ohio law makes no differentiation between hemp and marijuana, or the compounds they contain (including CBD and THC), in its definition of marijuana. And HB 523, which legalized medical marijuana, did not change that definition.
Ohio’s definition of marijuana excludes mature stalks/fibers (which allows things like hemp clothing, hemp seed cooking oil etc) to be sold in Ohio. But it includes flowers and “resin” from the plant. The resin is what contains CBD, THC and other cannabinoids (compounds in marijuana).
The Ohio Pharmacy Board clarified this in August, but it hasn’t really been enforced.
Faulkner was stopped at 7:10 p.m. on July 29, 2017 by Ontario police on charges of DUI and resisting arrest while driving at a high rate of speed on Lexington-Springmill Road. He was in the vicinity because he had been working construction in Ontario. Those two charges are behind him.
Faulkner, who has retained Mansfield attorney James Mayer III, said he is not taking a plea deal to a minor misdemeanor charge for the drug possession charges if he is offered a plea deal.
“I want a jury trial or the charges dismissed,” he said by telephone.
On Friday, Faulkner’s attorney said he is limited as to what he can say due to the pending nature of the case but indicated there have been recent changes in federal law and uncertainty in Ohio law.
“I believe this the first case of its kind in Ohio and certainly an area of first impression for the court,” Mayer said. He also said there is not a single vendor in Ohio charged with selling CBD products – the same product his client was possessing.
“I can certainly appreciate why my client feels as strongly as he does. He selected and paid for his product off the shelf in good faith and was later charged with a felony offense,” he added.
CBD oil does contains very low concentrations of THC. It does not cause the user to experience a high, Mayer said.
“Possession of marijuana in Ohio is a misdemeanor. Here we have an individual who purchased a substance with very low THC content, and a substance which is widely regarded in the medical community as an effective treatment for a number of medical conditions including anxiety and pain management,” Mayer said.
Food trends in 2019: Seeds, meatless meat and CBD.
“The most recently passed version of the federal farm bill appears to legalize the cultivation and subsequent sale of CBD oil so long as the farmer/grower/manufacturer strictly adheres to a number of federal regulations in marketing CBD oil,” Mayer said.
“It’s my experience you can walk into any number of stores in Ohio like my client did and purchase this product and expose yourself to the same felony charges my client is facing and we are looking forward to working toward a favorable resolution on this case and seeking clarification on an otherwise complicated legal issue,” Mayer said.
According to the Ontario police investigative report supplement, which the News Journal obtained, Ontario police received the lab results from Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation on Feb. 5 of 2018 from the liquid vial found in Faulkner’s vehicle.
“It came back positive for Delta-9-THC (Schedule I) and Canndabidoil Extract (Schedule I) and Cannabidiol Extract (Schedule 1). It had a net weight of 18.34 grams. I will put together a packet to send to the Richland County Prosecutor’s Office for felony possession of drug charges,” Ontario police Sgt. Jeromie Barnhart wrote in the report.
The CBD oil bottle was labeled, Queen City Hemp Oil, according to the report.
Richland County Chief Criminal Prosecutor Brandon Pigg said, “We are prosecuting the cases as the law dictates. And we are prosecuting this case.”
On Jan. 9, Faulkner is scheduled to appear before Richland County Common Pleas Magistrate Jeffrey P. Uhrich on a hearing on a motion to amend his bond.
Faulkner continues to wear an electronic ankle monitor and he said he would like to get the court to allow him to take it off. He said he isn’t a flight risk and hasn’t tested dirty for marijuana while he remains on probation.
He said he is always having to explain the ankle monitor at the gym or at the store. He has no curfew but must plug the device in each night or he will receive a call from a probation officer. Faulkner said he’s been wearing the device since shortly after his arraignment on May 30, 2018.
“I’ve never fought anything in my life if I was wrong. I’ve been in trouble in my life before but I always plead guilty or no contest. But I did nothing wrong here,” Faulkner said.
(O) “Marihuana” means all parts of a plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds of a plant of that type; the resin extracted from a part of a plant of that type; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of a plant of that type or of its seeds or resin. “Marihuana” does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oils or cake made from the seeds of the plant, or any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, except the resin extracted from the mature stalks, fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant that is incapable of germination.