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Georgia Marijuana Laws

Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated July 15, 2020

Last Updated 11/1/2019

State marijuana laws vary quite a bit from one another, and change quite frequently. While Georgia traditionally has had quite strict laws regarding the use of cannabis, the Peach State allows the very limited use of the herb. House Bill 1, also known as the “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” permits eligible patients to possess cannabis oil with a low percentage of THC (which produces the “high”). This is subject to change, as this area of law and regulation continues to evolve.

Here’s a look at the current state of Georgia marijuana laws.

Marijuana Under Georgia Law

The possession, sale, trafficking, and cultivation of marijuana is illegal in most states, although a few states tightly regulate its recreational use (with varying approaches to retail sales and home cultivation). However, roughly half of all states allow the medicinal use of cannabis. Georgia marijuana laws are relatively strict, but many counties in the state offer alternative sentencing programs for offenders, which offer treatment in lieu of jail time. Possession of more than 1 ounce of marijuana is a felony in Georgia, punishable by one to 10 years in prison.

The city of Savannah decriminalized the possession of marijuana, effective July 1, 2018. This means that first-time offenders will be issued an infraction (like a speeding ticket) instead of jail, with a maximum fine of $150. Those unable to pay may perform community service instead.

Georgia Marijuana Statutes

Understanding what law applies and what the law says is often key in answering a legal question. However, when you’re not paid by the hour to sift through legalese, it helps to have a helpful explanation of the law up front. The following chart provides key information pertaining to Georgia’s marijuana laws.

Section 16-13-30, et seq.

Possession Penalties

Sale or Trafficking Penalties

Medical Marijuana

Eligible patients may possess up to 20 ounces of low-THC (high-CBD) cannabis oil; possession of the whole plant is not allowed, nor is cultivation. Although low-TCH cannabis oil is legal in the state, it is not clear how it should be obtained.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Despite what another state’s marijuana laws says, marijuana possession and sale remains illegal under a federal law known as the Controlled Substance Act. Federal law always trumps if there is a conflict between state and federal law. While federal law enforcement agencies have not interfered with most states’ handling of certain marijuana cases, the federal government still has the authority to enforce restrictions on everything from the manufacturing and cultivation to the trafficking and distribution, as well as the possession of marijuana. You can also access more general information in FindLaw’s drug charges section.

Facing Marijuana Charges in Georgia? Get an Attorney’s Help Today

Every state handles drug laws differently and enforcement of a drug case can vary depending on your specific circumstances and location. With the fluctuating state of marijuana laws, both in Georgia and in other jurisdictions, it’s wise to seek legal counsel if you’ve been arrested for a marijuana-related crime. Start the process today by getting in touch with a Georgia drug crimes attorney.

Chart providing details of Georgia Marijuana Laws. Check this out and more at FindLaw's Georgia Criminal Laws section.

Georgia Marijuana Laws

Updated August 2019

A conservative state, Georgia has historically been resistant to cannabis legislation. However, the state has taken a small favorable step forward by passing a low-THC medical cannabis oil law. Further progress toward a comprehensive medical marijuana law or the legalization of recreational use, however, does not appear to be forthcoming. Learn more about Georgia marijuana laws below.

Recreational Marijuana in Georgia

While a majority of voters in Georgia favor marijuana legalization, recreational marijuana remains illegal in Georgia. Possession of up to 1 ounce is a misdemeanor punishable by 1 year in jail and a maximum fine of $6,000. First-time offenders may be given a conditional discharge, which can include the payment of fines and community service. Possession of any amount for non-personal use will be charged as a felony, punishable by a 1-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum fine of $15,000. The sale or delivery of any amount of marijuana is dealt with even more harshly with jail terms ranging from 2 years to life and a maximum fine of $60,000.

In October 2017, the Atlanta City Council unanimously voted to decriminalize marijuana in the city of Atlanta. The new policy eliminates jail times for individuals caught with less than an ounce of marijuana.

Medical Marijuana in Georgia

Georgia’s policy on medical marijuana took a turn for the better on April 16, 2015 when Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 1. While the law is far from a comprehensive medical marijuana law, the law does legalize the use of up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil containing up to 5% percent THC — for patients suffering from various illnesses. In May 2018, Gov. Deal signed into law House Bill 65 to expand the program to include two new qualifying conditions — post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and intractable pain.

Georgia’s medical marijuana law initially left patients with no way to legally buy cannabis even if they did qualify through a doctor’s approval to participate in the program. In April 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a bill to allow medical marijuana to be grown and sold in Georgia. While medical marijuana sales are now legal, it will likely take over a year before state-licensed medical marijuana is available for patients to purchase.

Under Georgia’s medical marijuana law, the use of low-THC cannabis oil is legal for medical patients diagnosed with:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Intractable Pain
  • Mitochondrial Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizure Disorders
  • Sickle Cell Disease

Consumption of CBD from Hemp Oil in Georgia

Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.

Cultivation of Cannabis in Georgia

It is illegal to cultivate marijuana in Georgia for any purpose. Marijuana cultivation is a felony offense in Georgia and can lead to incarceration from 1 to 10 years.

In April 2019, a bill allowing Georgia farmers to grow hemp for CBD oils and other products was approved by Georgia lawmakers. Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law on Friday, May 10, 2019. Under the law, licensed Georgia farmers will be able to grow hemp crops, which can then be used to make CBD oil, rope, and other items.

Legal Status of Other U.S. States

Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.

Sources

  • http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2015/04/16/medical-marijuana-is-now-legal-in-georgia/
  • http://norml.org/legal/item/georgia-cbd-specific-marijuana-law
  • http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

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