GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A judge in Fulton County this week granted a temporary restraining order against Gwinnett County District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson from criminal enforcement targeting the sale of Delta-8 and Delta-10 hemp products.
A lawsuit against the Gwinnett DA brought by the firm of Pate, Johnson & Church is asking a court to declare such products legal under Georgia law. Page Pate is a contributor to 11Alive as a legal analyst.
The suit claims that despite the legality of the products, the DA has unjustly raided retail stores and arrested employees and owners who sell the products.
Products containing Delta-8 and Delta-10 are legal and sold commonly in Georgia, since 2018, so long as they keep the amount of THC or Delta-9 below the 0.3% threshold.
"It's an interesting legal issue," Thomas Church, an attorney on the case said. "And I think, a lot of these business owners we represent are struggling right now. They have to stop selling the stuff over the fear of prosecution."
The Gwinnett DA has said previously in a release published in the Gwinnett Daily Post that the products are illegal and potentially fatal.
"With the emergence of the legalization of hemp and low THC oil there are other products which are being sold which are not legal.” The office added, "Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC are two substances that are forbidden under Georgia law."
Church told 11Alive earlier this week that Georgia's Hemp Bill (Georgia Hemp Farming Act) is "very explicit" in that "hemp and all its extracts, all its derivatives, and critically here, all of its cannabinoids are legal except using more than 0.3% of Delta-9 THC."
The lawsuit gained an initial victory with the temporary restraining order.
The order found that Austin-Gatson's policy would have negative effects on businesses selling Delta-8 and Delta-10 products and would risk "having to close their businesses unless a temporary restraining order is issued."
The order restrains the Gwinnett DA for the next 30 days from "directing her office or agents to initiate or continue any criminal enforcement action or civil asset forfeiture" related to the sale and distribution of Delta-8 and Delta-10 products.