marijuana possession georgia

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.

When is Marijuana Not a Just a Misdemeanor in Georgia?

When it’s more than 1oz of marijuana OR any amount of THC oil or THC wax

But isn’t it “Just Pot” – Maybe in Some States, But Not in Georgia

As marijuana use has become more and more prevalent in our society, the laws in Georgia have not changed to accommodate what may be legal in other states. While we have seen some recent changes in laws here in Georgia regarding the cultivation of hemp and the sale of non-THC CBD oils, the sale and possession of marijuana remains illegal in the State of Georgia.

Under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is a controlled substance and is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony offense based on quantity possessed.While there may be some “local jurisdictions” (including Savannah and the City of Atlanta) who have decriminalized possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, throughout most of the State of Georgia, you can expect to be charged with possession regardless of how much you have in your possession.

But I Have a Valid Prescription – What about Medical Use Marijuana?

While other states, including our neighbor to the south, Florida, permit possession of small amounts of marijuana with a prescription from a licensed medical provider, Georgia DOES NOT permit possession or use of medical marijuana, even if valid in another state.This means that even if you have a valid prescription for medical marijuana from Florida or some other state that has legalized marijuana, you can still be charged with possession in Georgia.

This means that if you are pulled over for even a minor traffic offense in Georgia (including speeding, following to close, tinted windows, failure to maintain lane, obscured license plate to name a few of the more common we see) and the officer finds marijuana in any form (loose pot, blunts, or rolled joints) you will likely be facing either misdemeanor or felony charges depending on how much the officer finds in your possession – Prescription or No Prescription.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Oil and Wax – NOT “Just Pot” by Another Name

Possession of THC Oil or THC Wax is not just a simple Misdemeanor offense in Georgia.Under Georgia’s Controlled Substance Act, both THC Oil and THC Wax are Schedule I drugs and are punishable as a felony in the State of Georgia. Most importantly, with the exception of “low THC oil” described below, possession of any amount of THC Oil or THC Wax in Georgia is a felony offense.This means that unless you are in strict compliance with the Georgia statute governing “low THC oil,” there is no such thing as misdemeanor possession of THC Oil or THC Wax in the Georgia Criminal Statute.

This means that if you are carrying a vape pen with a THC Oil cartridge and you are pulled over for a minor traffic offense, you could be facing felony charges in the State of Georgia.

What about “Low THC oil”? – Only in Small Amounts and Compliance w/Georgia Statute

The Georgia statute governing “low THC oil” defines “low THC oil” as “oil that contains an amount of cannabidiol or not more than 5 percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid which does not contain plant material exhibiting the eternal morphological features of the plan of the genus Cannabis.”

In short, there are statutory provisions for researchers and private citizens to possess “low THC oil” in very limited quantities concentrations of THC.In Georgia, a person MAY POSSESS up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil” IF:

      • It is in a “pharmaceutical container labeled by the manufacturer indicating the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol therein” AND
      • The person is registered with the Department of Public Health and has a registration card issued by the Department of Public Health in that person’s possession OR a registration card issued by another state that allows the same possession of “low TCH oil” as prohibited by that state’s law (note: out of state registration card not valid if present in Georgia for 45 days or more)

Max Penalties for Possession of Marijuana or THC Oil or THC Wax in Georgia

Possession of Marijuana

Charge Offense Max Penalty
Less than 1oz of marijuana Misdemeanor $1,000 fine or 12 mos jail or both or public works not to exceed 12 mos
At least 1oz up to 10 pounds of marijuana Felony 1-10 years; (see note for fine)
Greater than 10 but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana(trafficking) Felony Mandatory min 5 years;$100,000 fine

Possession of any amount near park, school or drug free zone – even worse – call us TODAY!

Note:When a statutory fine is not specified, the court may impose a fine not to exceed $100,000 (OCGA 17-10-8)

Possession of THC Oil or THC Wax

Charge Offense Max Penalty
Less than 1gm of solid or Less than 1ml of liquid Felony 1-3 years; (see note for fine)
At least 1gm but less than 4gm of solid OR 1ml but less than 4ml liquid Felony 1-8 years; (see note for fine)
At least 4gm but less than 28gm of solid OR 4ml but less than 28ml liquid Felony 1-15 year; (see note for fine)

Note:When a statutory fine is not specified, the court may impose a fine not to exceed $100,000 (OCGA 17-10-8)

Possession of “Low THC Oil”

Charge Offense Max Penalty
Less than 20oz without complying with statute (see above) Misdemeanor $1,000 fine or 12 mos jail or both
More than 20oz but less than 160 oz Felony 1–10 years; $50,000 fine
More than 160oz (Trafficking) Felony Up to 20yrs; Up to $1 Million (Depending on actual quantity)

Facing Drug Charges?

You Need an Attorney Specializing in Defending Drug Offenses

If you are facing charges of possession of marijuana in any amount or possession of THC Oil,THC Wax, or any other illegal drug in Georgia, you need our team of lawyers on your side to fight for your rights.These are very serious charges that require quick action from experienced attorney’s to resolve your case with the best outcome possible.

We specialize in fighting drug charges of all kinds. If you are facing misdemeanor or felony drug charges of any kind, Click here or call us at (229) 244-7171 to schedule your free consultation.

If you are facing charges of possession of marijuana in any amount or possession of THC Oil,THC Wax, or any other illegal drug in GA, call us immediately.