Kemp signs legislative package to improve Georgia AG

Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill Tuesday to improve agriculture, by far Georgia's largest industry.

Kemp praised the economic development successes his administration has brought to rural communities across the Peach State since he took office in 2019.

“The vast majority of jobs and the vast majority of investments created by these large private sector companies were located outside of metro Atlanta, creating opportunities for Georgians to succeed regardless of their zip code,” the governor said during a ceremony in Valdosta.

One of the bills Kemp signed Tuesday aims to help boost hemp cultivation in Georgia, a fast-growing industry.

Senate Bill 494, which passed the General Assembly with strong support, establishes licensing requirements for hemp cultivation and the manufacture and sale of low-THC hemp products. Additionally, the possession and sale of hemp products is restricted to adults 21 years of age or older.

“This bill changes the framework for hemp regulations in Georgia … to ensure products are safe for our consumers,” Kemp said.

Senate Bill 420 prohibits the ownership or acquisition of farmland in Georgia by agents of foreign adversaries. The legislation also applies to any type of land located within 10 miles of a military installation.

“We cannot allow foreign adversaries to control something as important to our survival as our food supply,” Kemp said. “Georgia will do everything in our power to prevent bad actors from endangering our national security.”

The governor also signed several bills unrelated to agriculture, including one named in honor of Austin Walters of Valdosta, who died of a fentanyl overdose in 2021 at age 30. Senate Bill 465 makes it a felony to manufacture or sell substances containing fentanyl, which causes death.

“Austin’s law will help save Georgians’ lives by cracking down on the criminals who traffic these deadly substances,” said Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, who presides over the Senate. “Today’s signing of the Austin bill marks a pivotal moment in our efforts to help end this deadly epidemic.”

Anna Harden

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