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Subject 40-32-3 HEMP PROCESSORS

Rule 40-32-3-.01 Application for Hemp Processor Permit

(1) Any person desiring to process and handle hemp at any location in Georgia must submit a complete and accurate Hemp Processor Permit Application online at the Department's website, agr.georgia.gov.
(2) Any person processing or intending to process hemp must have a valid Hemp Processor Permit prior to receiving, processing, handling, or storing hemp. A valid permit means the permit has been issued and is unexpired, unsuspended, and unrevoked.
(3) As part of the Hemp Processor Permit Application, each applicant must submit to the Department the following:
(a) An initial annual Hemp Processor Permit fee of $25,000.00;
(b) A surety bond in the amount of $100,000.00 issued by a surety company authorized by law to do business in Georgia pursuant to a current certificate of authority to transact surety business by the Commissioner of Insurance;
(c) Information regarding the applicant's business including, but not limited to:
1. Legal business name or trade name;
2. Business structure type;
3. Address of the principal business location;
4. Primary contact information;
5. Current Certificate of Existence obtained through the Georgia Secretary of State's Office;
6. Any required local business license(s);
7. Employer Identification Number (EIN); and
8. Name, title, and current primary contact information, including telephone number and email address, for each owner, key participant, and person holding a beneficial interest in the Hemp Processor Permit for which an application is being made.
(d) A legal description, obtained from the relevant county courthouse property records, for property on which each processing or handling facility is located;
(e) GPS coordinates provided in decimal of degrees and taken at the approximate entrance of each facility;
(f) The approximate dimension or square feet of each facility;
(g) An aerial map or photograph of the processing facilities showing clear boundaries of each facility;
(h) Information sufficient for locating hemp storage facilities including, but not limited to:
1. A legal description, obtained from the relevant county courthouse property records, for property on which each storage facility is located;
2. GPS coordinates provided in decimal of degrees and taken at the approximate entrance of each storage facility;
3. The approximate dimension or square feet of each storage facility; and
4. An aerial map or photograph that clearly shows the boundaries and dimensions of each storage facility.
(i) A description of all hemp products to be produced as well as an estimate of the volume of each such product projected to be produced;
(j) A statement of the intended end use and/or disposal plan for all parts of hemp plants and hemp material received for processing;
(k) Affidavits of the applicant and every Licensee with whom such applicant has entered into a written agreement pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 2-23-7 in which both parties swear that they have entered into or intend to enter into such an agreement;
(l) Written consent, allowing representatives of the Department, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and other affected state and local law enforcement agencies to enter all premises where hemp is being processed or handled for the purpose of conducting physical inspections and ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Georgia Hemp Farming Act and these Rules;
(m) A current criminal background check for each owner, key participant, and person holding a beneficial interest conducted by local law enforcement and dated within 60 days prior to the application submission date. A permit application will not be considered complete without all required criminal background checks;
(n) An acknowledgment of the Processor Permit Terms and Conditions; and
(o) Any other information, disclosure, or documents required to be submitted by Georgia or Federal law or regulation.
(4) Except for the 2020 growing season, Hemp Processor Permits will be issued on January 1 of each year.
(5) After the first full calendar year of holding a Hemp Processor Permit, a Permittee will be entitled to an automatic permit renewal annually upon timely submission of a permit fee of $10,000.00 per year as well as annual criminal background checks, so long as no administrative action has been taken by the Department against the Permittee and provided the information in the Permit application is unchanged.
(a) Renewal fees and annual criminal background checks dated within 60 days prior to the submission date must be submitted by December 1 of each year. Permits will expire on December 31 of each year if renewal fees are not timely submitted as required hereunder.
(6) If the information in the original Permit application is no longer accurate, the Permittee must submit a new permit application to the Department.
(7) Any person who materially falsifies any information contained in an application for a Hemp Processor Permit will be ineligible to receive a Hemp Processor Permit or otherwise participate in the Georgia Hemp Program.

Rule 40-32-3-.02 Processor Permit Terms and Conditions

Each Permittee must acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions governing the Hemp Processor Permit which include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) Except for primary contact information or corrections of typographical errors approved by the Department, no alterations will be allowed to any Hemp Processor Permit Application once approved. Any changes to primary contact information must be reported to the Department within ten (10) calendar days of the change.
(b) The Permittee must notify the Department, via e-mail to hemp@agr.georgia.gov, of any theft or loss of hemp or hemp products within forty-eight (48) hours of discovery of such theft or loss.
(c) The applicant and/or Permittee must report any felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions relating to controlled substances under Georgia law or under Federal law to the Department, via e-mail to hemp@agr.georgia.gov, within five (5) calendar days of receiving notice of such conviction.
(d) The applicant or Permittee must notify the Department in writing within ten (10) calendar days of the following:
1. A disciplinary proceeding or enforcement action by another government entity that may affect the Permittee's business; and
2. Temporary closures of more than thirty (30) days or permanent closure of any processing or storage facility.
(e) Any information provided to the Department may be publicly disclosed in accordance with the Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 et. seq.) and may be provided to law enforcement agencies without further notice to the applicant.
(f) A person with a state or federal felony conviction related to a controlled substance is subject to a 10-year ineligibility restriction on participating in the Georgia Hemp Program from the date of the conviction. An exception applies to a person who was lawfully growing Hemp under the 2014 Farm Bill before December 20, 2018, and whose conviction also occurred before that date. Each owner, key participant, and person holding a beneficial interest of the Permittee will be subject to the felony conviction restriction for purposes herein.
(g) Issuance of a Hemp Processor Permit will be conditioned upon the applicant's compliance with O.C.G.A. § 2-23-7 prior to initiating hemp processing activities.
(h) A Permittee may also apply for and be issued no more than one Hemp Grower License. Any person holding both a Hemp Processor Permit and a Hemp Grower License must comply with Georgia Rules governing both Licensees and Permittees.
(i) No person will be issued more than one Hemp Processor Permit, nor will any person be permitted to have a beneficial interest in more than one Hemp Processor Permit, regardless of the degree of such interest, as provided in O.C.G.A. § 2-23-5.
(j) Hemp Processor Permits cannot be sold, assigned, transferred, pledged, or otherwise disposed of, alienated, or encumbered to or by another person, business, individual, or entity.
(k) The Permittee must only process hemp at facilities identified in the Hemp Processor Permit Application and must have the legal authority to grant the Department access to any and all such facilities for inspection and sampling.
(l) The Permittee must allow and fully cooperate with all required inspections and sampling.
(m) The Permittee must maintain all records and information and make all reports within the applicable time frames as required in these Rules.
(n) The Permittee must only accept for processing hemp that was lawfully produced under a State or Tribal hemp plan approved by the USDA, under a hemp license issued by USDA, or under 7 U.S.C. 5940 through the State or territory of the Indian Tribe, as applicable.
(o) The Permittee must not handle, process, store, sell, transfer, ship, transport, deliver, distribute, or otherwise provide any cannabis or cannabis product that exceeds the acceptable hemp THC level. The Permittee must ensure that cannabis or cannabis products exceeding the acceptable hemp THC level do not enter the stream of commerce.
(p) The Department will require forfeiture and destruction, without compensation, of hemp discovered at a processing facility for which records are not available to prove that said hemp was received from a Licensee or from a state with a plan to regulate hemp production that is approved by the USDA Secretary of Agriculture or otherwise in accordance with regulations promulgated by the USDA. Any hemp comingled with such hemp for which records are not available will also be subject to destruction.
(q) In the event that a tested official sample exceeds the acceptable hemp THC level, the Department will require all related hemp products be disposed by a reverse distributor without compensation to the Permittee and under the supervision of local law enforcement.

Rule 40-32-3-.03 Processor Sampling

(1) Hemp products are subject to sampling by a Department-approved sampling agent for delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration level testing. The frequency of sampling and number of hemp products sampled for such testing will be determined by the Department.
(2) Sampling will be conducted in accordance with the Department's most current Sampling and Testing Guidelines for Hemp Processing Facilities, which will be made available on the Department's website at agr.georgia.gov.
(3) The method used for sampling must ensure that a representative sample is collected that represents a homogeneous composition of the product lot.
(4) During a scheduled sample collection, the Permittee or an authorized representative of the Permittee must be present at the facility.
(5) The Permittee will be responsible for paying all sampling fees. No compensation will be owed by the Department to the Permittee for any such sampling or for any samples collected by the Department-approved sampling agent.
(6) Only samples taken by a Department-approved sampling agent will be considered official samples.
(7) The Department-approved sampling agent(s) must be provided with complete and unrestricted access during business hours to all hemp, hemp products, land, buildings and other structures used for the processing, handling, and storing of hemp and hemp products. The Department must also be provided with complete and unrestricted access to any and all records, documents, and information required to be kept and maintained in accordance with these Rules.
(8) A Permittee must not transfer, transport, or otherwise distribute hemp products from a sampled product lot prior to receiving analytical testing results verifying that the product lot sampled does not exceed the acceptable hemp THC level.

Rule 40-32-3-.04 Processor Laboratory Testing

(1) Standard testing procedures are specified for samples taken to measure the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration levels of those samples.
(2) Analytical testing for purposes of detecting the concentration levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) must be conducted and reported by a laboratory registered with DEA to handle controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 CFR part 1301.13.
(3) Analytical testing for purposes of detecting the concentration levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) must be conducted in accordance with the Departments Sampling and Testing Guidelines for Hemp Processing Facilities, which will be made available on the Department's website at agr.georgia.gov. Such testing must meet the following standards:
(a) Laboratory quality assurance must ensure the validity and reliability of test results;
(b) Analytical method selection, validation, and verification must ensure that the testing method used is appropriate (fit for purpose) and that the laboratory can successfully perform the testing;
(c) The demonstration of testing validity must ensure consistent, accurate analytical performance; and
(d) Method performance specifications must ensure analytical tests are sufficiently sensitive for the purposes of the detectability requirements of this Rule.
(4) At a minimum, analytical testing of samples for delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration levels must use post-decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods approved by the Secretary or Commissioner. The testing methodology must consider the potential conversion of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) in hemp into delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the test result reflect the total available THC derived from the sum of the THC and THC-A content. Testing methodologies meeting the requirements of this paragraph include, but are not limited to, gas or liquid chromatography with detection.
(5) The total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration level must be determined and reported. Additionally, measurement of uncertainty (MU) must be estimated and reported with test results. Laboratories must use appropriate, validated methods and procedures for all testing activities and evaluate measurement of uncertainty.
(6) Any sample test result exceeding the acceptable hemp THC level will be conclusive evidence that the product lot represented by the sample is not in compliance with these Rules.
(7) Measurement of uncertainty (MU) must be estimated and reported with test results. Laboratories must use appropriate, validated methods and procedures for all testing activities and evaluate measurement of uncertainty.
(8) Each Processor must ensure that the DEA-registered laboratory conducting the analytical testing of the sample(s) from the Processor's product lots submits results for all tested samples to the Department via e-mail to hemp@agr.georgia.gov. The test results must be reported using the Department's "Processor Laboratory Test Results Report" form and must contain the following information for each sample tested:
(a) Georgia Processor Permit number;
(b) Name of Processor;
(c) Business address of Processor;
(d) Lot identification number for the sample;
(e) Name and DEA registration number of the laboratory;
(f) Date of test and report;
(g) Identification of a retest;
(h) Measurement of uncertainty (MU); and
(i) Test result.
(9) The Permittee will be responsible for paying all testing fees. No compensation will be owed by the Department to the Permittee for any such testing.

Rule 40-32-3-.05 Permittee Restrictions

(1) A Permittee must not:
(a) Process or handle hemp on any site not listed on the Hemp Processor Permit application;
(b) Process or handle any cannabis that is not hemp;
(c) Sell, transfer, ship, transport, deliver, distribute, or otherwise provide hemp products that exceed the acceptable hemp THC level;
(d) Process or handle hemp or hemp products in any structure that is used for residential purposes;
(e) Process hemp with other products. Hemp must be processed separately from other products unless otherwise authorized in writing by the Department;
(f) Store hemp products with other products. Hemp products must be physically stored separately from other products at a processing or storage facility unless otherwise authorized in writing by the Department;
(g) Allow unsupervised public access to hemp or hemp processing and storage facilities; or
(h) Process or handle hemp on property owned by, leased from, or previously submitted in a permit application by any person who is ineligible for, was terminated from, or was denied admission to the program for failure to obtain an acceptable criminal background check or for violations of the Georgia Hemp Farming Act or these Rules.
(2) The Permittee must comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances at all times including, but not limited to, the federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. Chapter 9, and all laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances relating to product development, product manufacturing, consumer safety, and public health.

Rule 40-32-3-.06 Disposal of Non-Compliant Cannabis Products

(1) Cannabis products exceeding the acceptable hemp THC level constitute marijuana, a schedule I controlled substance under Georgia law and federal law.
(2) Cannabis products exceeding the acceptable hemp THC level must be disposed of in accordance with the CSA and DEA regulations found at 21 CFR 1317.15 by a reverse distributor and in the presence of local law enforcement.
(3) The Permittee must immediately notify the Department via email to hemp@agr.georgia.gov any time analytical testing determines that cannabis products exceed the acceptable hemp THC level.
(4) Upon notice and confirmation that a cannabis product has exceeded the acceptable hemp THC level, the Department will issue an Order of Disposal requiring all related cannabis products to be disposed within a reasonable time to be determined by the Department.
(5) The Permittee will be responsible for arranging disposal through a reverse distributor. The Permittee will also be responsible for ensuring that local law enforcement is present to supervise such disposal.
(6) The Permittee will be responsible for all costs and fees associated with the disposal of cannabis exceeding the acceptable hemp THC level. No compensation will be owed by the Department to the Permittee for any such disposal.
(7) Cannabis products subject to disposal must not be removed from the permitted facility or from any other area where such cannabis is being processed, handled, or stored.
(8) Within 30 days of the date of completion of disposal, the Processor must submit a "Disposal Report" form to the Department, which must contain the following information:
(a) Name and address of the Permittee;
(b) Georgia Processor Permit number;
(c) Information on the reverse distributor agent handling the disposal.
(d) Date of completion of disposal;
(e) Signature of the Permittee;
(f) Signature of local law enforcement agent; and
(g) Reverse distributor certification of completion of the disposal.

Rule 40-32-3-.07 Transportation Requirements

(1) All hemp products being shipped into or transported within or through the State of Georgia must be accompanied by documentation sufficient to prove that the hemp products being shipped or transported were produced from hemp that was lawfully produced under a State or Tribal hemp plan approved by the USDA, under a hemp license issued by USDA, or under 7 U.S.C. 5940 through the State or territory of the Indian Tribe, as applicable.
(2) Any person transporting hemp products must also carry a bill of lading that includes the following information:
(a) Name and address of the owner of the hemp products;
(b) Point of origin;
(c) Point of delivery, including name and address;
(d) Kind and quantity of packages or, if in bulk, the total quantity of hemp products in the shipment; and
(e) Date of shipment.
(3) The person transporting hemp products must act in compliance with all Georgia and Federal laws and regulations.

Rule 40-32-3-.08 Storage of Hemp

(1) A Permittee may store hemp obtained from licensed growers and/or processed by said Permittee provided:
(a) The Permittee identifies each storage facility on the Hemp Processor Permit Application;
(b) The Permittee maintains complete and accurate records detailing the licensed growers from whom hemp at each storage facility was received, varieties stored at each storage facility, and amount of each hemp variety stored at each storage facility. Product lots in storage must be separated in such a manner that maintains the unique identity of each product lot stored at the storage facility;
1. In the event analytical testing determines that an official sample of hemp or hemp products held at a storage facility exceeds the acceptable hemp THC level, all comingled hemp or hemp products held at the storage facility must be promptly disposed of in accordance with the CSA and DEA regulations found at 21 CFR 1317.15 by a reverse distributor and in the presence of local law enforcement.
(c) The storage facility is owned or leased by the Permittee; and
(d) The storage facility is secured with physical containment and reasonable security measures.
(2) No Permittee may warehouse or otherwise store hemp that is not owned by the Permittee.
(3) All storage area(s) will be subject to inspection by the Department.

Rule 40-32-3-.09 Recordkeeping Requirements

(1) Permittees must keep and maintain copies of all written agreements with licensed growers, including growers holding a Georgia Hemp Grower License as well as growers licensed by the USDA or authorized to produce hemp under other USDA approved state or tribal hemp plans, governing their business relationship.
(2) Permittees must keep and maintain the following records:
(a) Hemp intake records, which include:
1. Name, location, and license number (Georgia Hemp Grower License number or other valid hemp grower identification number) for each grower from whom the Permittee accepts hemp for processing;
2. The date(s) on which hemp is received from each licensed grower;
3. Copies of analytical testing results confirming that each lot of hemp received for processing does not exceed the acceptable hemp THC level;
4. The amount of each variety received from each licensed grower; and
5. The hemp products for which each variety of hemp received from each licensed grower will be used.
(b) Inventory records for hemp products being processed and stored, which include:
1. Date of inventory;
2. Location of stored inventory;
3. Total amount of each hemp product on hand;
4. Total amount of hemp and hemp seed of each variety on hand;
5. Total amount of unusable hemp and hemp seed of each variety on hand; and
6. Name, signature, and title of the employee performing inventory.
(c) Disposal records for all unusable hemp, which include:
1. Date of disposal;
2. Amount of each hemp variety disposed;
3. Method of disposal or destruction;
4. Location of disposal or destruction; and
5. Name, signature, and title of employee responsible for disposal or destruction.
(d) Processing records, which include:
1. List of products produced from hemp; and
2. List of buyers or recipients of hemp products including:
(i) Name, address, and phone number of each buyer or recipient;
(ii) Description of each product purchased or otherwise distributed;
(iii) Quantity of each product purchased or otherwise distributed; and
(iv) Date of distribution.
(3) Permittees must keep and maintain copies of all records, documents, and information required by this Rule for at least three (3) years and in a manner such that they can be readily provided to the Department upon request.
(4) The Department will maintain all relevant records and information regarding Permittees and facilities at which hemp is processed or handled in Georgia, including a legal description for property on which each processing or handling facility is located, for a period of not less than three (3) calendar years.

Rule 40-32-3-.10 Hemp Processor Compliance Inspections

(1) Processors may subject to compliance inspections.
(2) The Processor's operational procedures, documentation, recordkeeping, and other practices may be verified during the compliance inspection.
(3) The Department may assess whether required reports, records, and documentation are being properly maintained and may assess accuracy and completeness.
(4) If during a compliance inspection the Department determines that the Processor is not in compliance with the Georgia Hemp Farming Act or these Rules, the Department will require a Corrective Action Plan. The Processor's implementation of a Corrective Action Plan will be reviewed by the Department during future compliance inspections.
(5) Compliance inspections may be unannounced and conducted at any time during regular business hours. The Department will have complete and unrestricted access during business hours to all hemp, hemp products, land, buildings and other structures used for the processing and handling of hemp. The Department will also have complete and unrestricted access to any and all records, documents, and information required to be kept and maintained in accordance with these Rules.

Rule 40-32-3-.11 Violations and Enforcement

(1) Violations include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) Processing or handling hemp or hemp products without a Hemp Processor Permit from the Department;
(b) Processing or handling any cannabis that is not hemp;
(c) Processing or handling hemp or hemp products that exceeds the acceptable hemp THC level;
(d) Processing hemp that was not lawfully produced under a State or Tribal hemp plan approved by the USDA, under a hemp license issued by USDA, or under 7 U.S.C. 5940 through the State or territory of the Indian Tribe, as applicable;
(e) Selling, transferring, shipping, transporting, delivering, distributing, or otherwise providing hemp or hemp products that exceeds the acceptable hemp THC level;
(f) Processing or handling hemp or hemp products at a facility not approved by the Department as part of the Hemp Processor Permit;
(g) Allowing unsupervised public access to hemp processing or handling areas, including storage areas;
(h) Denying any Department or law enforcement official access for compliance, sampling, or inspection purposes;
(i) Failure to keep and maintain any records, documents, or information required by these Rules;
(j) Failure to make any timely report required by these Rules;
(k) Failure to comply with any transportation requirement established by these Rules;
(l) Failure to comply with any Permittee Restriction;
(m) Failure to comply with any Processor Permit Term or Condition; and
(n) Failure to comply with, or any violation of, any other provision of the Georgia Hemp Farming Act or these Rules.
(2) A violation of the Georgia Hemp Farming Act or these Rules will be subject to enforcement in accordance with the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, these Rules, and other applicable state law.
(3) If the Commissioner determines that a Permittee has violated the Georgia Hemp Farming Act or these Rules with a culpable mental state greater than negligence, the Commissioner will immediately report the Permittee to the United States Attorney General and the Georgia Attorney General.