State and federal law prohibit the unauthorized possession or use of Marijuana and some Marijuana derivatives such as THC. Peace Officers in Georgia are not exempt from these restrictions and the Georgia Peace Officer and Standards and Training Council (POST) has historically not tolerated the use of illegal drugs by peace officers.
In 2018, the Farm Bill made hemp legal in the United States. Hemp and hemp products, with the exception of hemp-infused food and drinks, became legal in Georgia in May 2019. Hemp is defined by the U.S. government as containing “extremely low (not more than .3% on a dry weight basis) concentrations of THC.” Among the most available and popular derivatives of hemp is CBD (cannabidiol.) There is an increasing market of legal products containing CBD and other products for various uses including relieving muscle soreness, anxiety, and insomnia.
The effectiveness of CBD use for various maladies is disputed. Additionally, the production of products containing CBD is not well regulated, and quality control can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, even among products that are labelled “THC Free.” Any use of CBD by a peace officer could trigger a positive result for THC on a drug screen.
The Georgia POST Council will treat any positive test for THC as a failure of a drug test and may take action on the officer’s certification, regardless of the claim that the user may have been using a legal CBD product. While each case will be considered on its own merits, this serves as a notice to all peace officers that a peace officer using CBD is not necessarily a valid defense against laboratory results that show the presence of THC in the officer’s body, and that these results may have a negative effect on the officer’s certification.
All peace officers should be wary of using products that might contain illegal substances, and should carefully evaluate use of these supplements.