Posted by Jim Yeargan in Atlanta DUI Law on June 26, 2020
Before discussing whether you can get a DUI for CBD, it may be helpful to discuss CBD. Some people confuse CBD from the hemp plant with the intoxicating compound THC that is found in marijuana. They are two separate compounds but very closely related.
With recent changes in federal and state laws related to hemp plants, law enforcement and Georgians are confused about how to handle the use of CBD oil and hemp products.
What is CBD Oil and Why Do People Use It?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is extracted from hemp. Marijuana and hemp are both members of the cannabis plant family.
THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound in marijuana that can make you feel “high” when you consume it. Hemp does not contain THC. If you ingest hemp products, you will not get that high that you experience if you ingest THC products.
Many sources claim that CBD oil has numerous health benefits. None of these claims have been proven with any certainty. The FDA has approved just one CBD product, which is a prescription drug used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy.
Even though CBD oil may be safe for some people to use, there is still much research to be completed into the claims of health benefits and the potential side effects that it could cause for some individuals.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Georgia?
Under federal law, it is now legal to grow industrial hemp. Hemp was reclassified as a legal substance instead of a controlled substance with the 2019 Farm Bill. Therefore, CBD oil extracted from hemp is no longer illegal under federal law.
In May 2019, Governor Kemp signed the Georgia Hemp Farming Act. The Act gave the Georgia Department of Agriculture the authority to regulate the growth and processing of hemp in Georgia. Even before the Act was signed into law, many stores, and even some restaurants and coffee houses were offering CBD oil products, foods, and drinks.
Can You Receive a DUI for CBD Oil?
That is a tough question because hemp and marijuana are so closely related. Also, there are several issues with producing hemp products and CBD oil products.
First, CBD oil can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana plants. Therefore, you could experience a high if you use CBD oil made from marijuana plants. Also, hemp grown near marijuana plants can cross-pollinate, which means there could be a higher level of THC in some CBD oils made from those hemp plants.
CBD oil derived from hemp plants contains a small amount of THC naturally. Under federal and state law, hemp plants cannot contain more than .03 percent of THC.
However, not all growers and manufacturers are careful. Some CBD products could contain higher levels of THC if they are not purchased from reputable companies. Some companies cut corners and do not follow federal regulations and standards.
With all this in mind, we go back to the question of whether you can be arrested for DUI for CBD oil. Maybe.
DUI Arrests for CBD Oil
The main problem is that the tests used by law enforcement officers only detect whether THC is present. It does not tell the officers the percentage of THC. Someone using hemp could have very low levels of THC in their system.
Therefore, if they are pulled over and tested, the test may be positive for THC. The officers might make an arrest. Also, if someone is in possession of a green leafy substance that smells like marijuana, it might be hemp, but the officer may not be able to tell the difference.
One way to avoid an unjust DUI arrest for CBD oil is to make sure that you purchase your CBD oil products from reputable companies. Purchasing CBD oils online could result in products that are not free from THC.
Can You Be Convicted of DUI for CBD Oil?
This question is probably more relevant. Depending on the circumstances, officers may arrest someone for DUI for CBD oil because the system is still adjusting to hemp plants and CBD oil being legal in Georgia.
An arrest is not a conviction. The state must prove that you had an illegal substance in your system that impaired your ability to drive to convict you for a DUI charge.
However, if you used legal hemp products, you should be able to get out of a DUI for CBD oil arrest with the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney. Your attorney works with you to develop a defense strategy based on test results and other evidence that the THC in your system was from legal hemp use, not marijuana use.