CBD

How to Get a CBD License in Georgia & Start Your Business

A CBD plant and dropper being sold with a CBD license in Georgia.

As the CBD industry continues to grow, many entrepreneurs in Georgia are interested in obtaining a CBD license. American entities from the MLB to the USA Triathlon are establishing significant sponsorships with CBD brands, making it clear that the CBD industry is gradually gaining traction among American consumers.[1]Sports Pro Media. “MLB names Charlotte’s Web as first CBD sponsor“. Accessed on July 19, 2023.

In Georgia, several potential business owners are contemplating the potential advantages of starting CBD businesses as a means of exploring new markets. Recent progress in Georgia’s CBD industry has demonstrated the local market’s determination to integrate this product into the mainstream. In 2021, Atlanta, Georgia hosted the largest CBD and hemp event in the country: the USA CBD Expo Atlanta.[2]Cision PR Newswire. “Nation’s Largest CBD and Hemp Event Returns, Kicks off at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from June 11-13“. Accessed on July 19, 2023. And despite federal legality for some CBD products, each state, including Georgia, sets its own rules and regulations, including licensing requirements.

So, whether your business plans to sell CBD products at a retail storefront or produce CBD oil for smaller retail businesses, following Georgia’s hemp laws is important. This guide outlines the steps to initiate a CBD business in Georgia, the procedures to acquire and renew a Georgia CBD license, and other related aspects, let’s jump in!

How to Start a CBD Business in Georgia

Starting a CBD business in Georgia is like starting any other commercial enterprise in the state. First, you’ll decide on the business structure you want, and register your business with local state authorities. For instance, you may choose to establish an LLC to mitigate your liabilities as a business owner. Next, apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, this will serve to identify your business for taxation purposes. Georgia also requires its businesses to be registered with the Georgia Department of Revenue. You must register your business on the Department of Revenue website and include the following on your application:

  • Legal name, location, and postal address of the business
  • EIN/FEIN (if applicable)
  • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code
  • Name, address, and social security number (SSN) of all managing owners, partners, or officers
  • Contact email address

Next, it’s time to set up a business bank account. A business bank account will aid in the application process for commercial credit cards, loans, and other forms of financing. Furthermore, it will help you build business credit, which may prove instrumental in the future if your business requires additional funding for expansion.

Lastly, once you have laid down the foundational elements of your business, ensure your business’s compliance with local laws, regulations, and licensing requirements. Many states impose stringent licensing requirements for CBD retailers. However, Georgia does not mandate a license for CBD businesses that sell products to consumers, provided the products adhere to legal limits. Nevertheless, you will need a license if you intend to cultivate or process hemp for CBD. We’ll explore the licensing process in more detail in the following section of this guide.

How to Get a CBD License in Georgia

Georgia does not require retailers to obtain a license to sell CBD products in the state. This means that you do not need to worry about securing any permits if you are operating a conventional CBD retail business.

However, for businesses aiming to grow or process hemp to manufacture CBD products, Georgia will require you to have a license. A Georgia Hemp Grower License allows businesses to cultivate hemp and costs $50 per acre, with a maximum annual charge of $5000. This license must be renewed every year, and you can apply for it directly on the application page of the Georgia Department of Agriculture website.

For businesses processing hemp, a Georgia Hemp Processor Permit is required. This license costs $25,000 per year and must be renewed annually. Again, businesses can apply for this permit directly on the application page of the Georgia Department of Agriculture website.

A certificate document.

What type of business or cannabis license do I need?

As discussed previously, all businesses are required to register with the Georgia Department of Revenue, regardless of the industry. However, there is no CBD-specific license required for retailers selling CBD products within legal limits. Only businesses engaging in growing or processing hemp for CBD will require industry-specific licenses. Hemp growers will need a Georgia Hemp Grower License, and hemp processors will require a Georgia Hemp Processor Permit.

A written list.

CBD License Application Requirements for Georgia

Again, while there is no CBD license for CBD retailers, Georgia-based businesses aiming to cultivate or process hemp for CBD products will require a license. Let’s delve into the license requirements listed on Georgia’s Hemp Program website:

Hemp Grower License

Before you begin a Georgia Hemp Grower License application, you’ll need to collect the details below:

  • Your physical and mailing addresses
  • A valid phone number and email address
  • EIN and Certificate of Existence (for businesses only)
  • Deed/lease and property legal description
  • Valid identification
  • Valid email address
  • S&V paperwork
  • Annotated aerial map/image and GPS coordinates

Hemp Processor Permit

Before you begin a Georgia Hemp Processor Permit application, be sure to collect the details below:

  • Your physical and mailing addresses
  • A valid phone number and email address
  • EIN and Certificate of Existence (for businesses only)
  • Deed/lease and property legal description
  • Legal identification
  • Valid email address
  • S&V paperwork
  • Annotated aerial map/image and GPS coordinates
  • Surety bond (only for processors)

Both applications are time-consuming to process, as authorities need to verify all of your documentation. Likewise, the Georgia Department of Agriculture may contact you directly to discuss any issues with your application. Due to the extensive amount of documentation, it’s crucial to begin the application process well ahead of any planned launch date, as quick turnaround times are not guaranteed.

Laws & Regulations for Selling CBD in Georgia

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp products with a THC concentration of 0.3% or less at a federal level. In essence, this indicates that most regions of the country permit CBD products, provided they comply with the federal THC concentration limits. CBD retailers must confirm that their products adhere to THC limits, and a certificate of analysis from a third-party tester should accompany any products supplied to a CBD retail business.

Finally, while CBD oil and other similar products are legal in Georgia, (if they comply with state and federal laws) CBD retailers and producers cannot add CBD to food items or beverages. This is because the FDA still prohibits the inclusion of CBD in most food products and beverages. Similarly, businesses cannot promote CBD products as dietary supplements either.

While some states have taken a more relaxed stance on allowing CBD-infused food products, Georgia authorities still maintain a stance on prohibiting CBD in food.[3]The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Georgians warned against adding CBD to foods and drinks“. Accessed on July 19, 2023.

How to Renew Your CBD License in Georgia

A person teaching how to renew a CBD license in Georgia.

There is no renewal process for a Georgia CBD license because retail CBD businesses in Georgia do not need to secure a CBD license. However, if you hold a Georgia Hemp Grower License or a Georgia Hemp Processor Permit, you must renew it annually to comply with all state laws. Fortunately, the process is easy—you’ll log into your account on the GDA Hemp Licensing and Reporting System and follow the steps to renew. Just remember to give yourself ample time to complete the application, as authorities require time to review it, complete background checks, and finalize a decision. Additionally, if you want to avoid any unnecessary business pauses, don’t wait until after your license expires to begin the application.

Start Selling CBD in Georgia

Once you’ve settled on the kind of CBD business you wish to open in Georgia, it’s time to launch your products. For retailers, making the decision between opening a physical store or selling CBD online is key. Fortunately, if you want both, there are numerous eCommerce software platforms that make it easy to monitor inventory across both physical and digital locations at the same time.

However, enabling credit card transactions can be challenging for CBD retailers, as traditional merchant account providers often categorize the CBD industry as ‘too risky’ for merchant services. As an alternative, CBD merchants can obtain a CBD merchant account to accept credit and debit card payments from clients. Teaming up with this type of provider affords several benefits to CBD retailers—including industry-specific capabilities, higher chargeback thresholds, enhanced security features, dedicated assistance, and more!

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Georgia CBD License: FAQs

Is CBD legal in Georgia?

Yes, CBD products with a THC concentration of 0.3% or less are legal in Georgia. However, while CBD oil and other extracts are permissible in Georgia, retailers and producers are not allowed to add CBD to food or beverages (unless approved by the FDA). CBD laws are liable to change, so it’s important to stay updated on the latest rules and regulations if you sell CBD products in Georgia.

How much does a CBD license cost in Georgia?

While retailers aren’t required to pay for a CBD license in Georgia, licenses are needed for hemp growers and processors. Georgia Hemp Grower Licenses are priced at $50 per acre of land being cultivated per year (with a maximum annual fee of $5000). Georgia Hemp Processor Permits come at a cost of $25,000 annually.

Can you sell CBD without a license in Georgia?

Indeed, selling CBD products at a retail location without a license is legal. However, if you wish to cultivate or process hemp for CBD products, you are required to obtain a permit via the Georgia Hemp Program. Likewise, you must continuously renew the relevant license on an annual basis to remain compliant with Georgia law.

How long is a CBD license valid in Georgia?

Currently, a license is not necessary to sell legal CBD products in Georgia. Therefore, there’s no “expiry date” for a Georgia CBD license.

Article Sources

  1. Sports Pro Media. “MLB names Charlotte’s Web as first CBD sponsor“. Accessed on July 19, 2023.
  2. Cision PR Newswire. “Nation’s Largest CBD and Hemp Event Returns, Kicks off at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from June 11-13“. Accessed on July 19, 2023.
  3. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Georgians warned against adding CBD to foods and drinks“. Accessed on July 19, 2023.


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