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possession of marijuana 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.

Possession of marijuana georgia

Aggressive, Compassionate, & Responsive Criminal Defense

If you have been charged with a criminal or traffic offense in Georgia, you need an attorney who will fight for you.

Possession of Marijuana – Less than One Ounce

Although several states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana (cannabis) and some municipalities in Georgia have begun to “decriminalize” marijuana, it remains illegal under both Federal and Georgia law. Click here to learn more about the difference between “decriminalization” and “legalization.” Simple possession of marijuana may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending upon the amount of marijuana found.

One of most common drug charges that I see as a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney is that of Possession of Marijuana – Less than One Ounce. The code section governing this charge is O.C.G.A. § 16-13-2(b), which classifies possession of less than one ounce of weed as a misdemeanor. This means that the maximum punishment for a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge is a 12-month period of imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine. Conviction of a drug-related charge, even a comparatively minor one such as Marijuana Possession – Less than One Once, can make your life very difficult. For example, it may impair your ability to get a job or to get or retain security clearance, as it will show up on a background check. Because of this, you should be sure to hire a Georgia Attorney with experience fighting these kinds of cases.

While many possession cases seem simple, in reality, many are quite complex. For example, many marijuana cases originate from searches conducted by the police. In search cases, the police have certain rules that they must follow under the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The rules can be complex and there are a multitude of exceptions to the rules. Frequently in marijuana cases, the police conduct (either intentionally or unintentionally) searches that violate the 4th Amendment. An attorney who is well-versed in these kinds of cases will be able to conduct an investigation and file the appropriate motions with the court, potentially resulting in suppression of evidence or even the dismissal of your case. Even if you think it unlikely that your case is “winnable,” it is still important to ensure that you hire an attorney who knows how to work drug cases, because even at the sentencing phase of the case, you may have options that can keep your record clean.

What is Conditional Discharge for Possession of Marijuana – Less than One Ounce?

First, O.C.G.A. § 16-13-2 provides for something called “Conditional Discharge.” Under this part of the statute, a person who has not previously been convicted of a drug offense may enter a guilty plea to possession of marijuana — less than one ounce. After such a guilty plea, the Court may place the individual on probation without entering a judgment of guilt. The court may require that certain conditions be met – for example, medical treatment, drug and alcohol awareness classes, community service, etc. After the probation term has run and after the individual has completed all conditions of supervision, the court will dismiss the case. This means that the individual may maintain a clean criminal record. However, if the individual fails to comply with the terms of supervision or picks up a new charge, the conditional discharge may be withdrawn and a conviction would be entered on the person’s record.

What is Pre-Trial Diversion for Possession of Marijuana – Less than One Ounce?

Another option may be something called Pre-trial Diversion (PTD) or Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). These options are even better than Conditional Discharge, as they do not even require that an individual enter a guilty plea. Typically, they are administered through the prosecutor’s office in the jurisdiction in which you have been charged. Normally, your Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney would negotiate certain terms with the prosecutor. They may include some community service work, an alcohol/drug awareness class, and/or a period of sobriety. Once those terms are met, the prosecutor dismisses the case. These options are not available in all jurisdictions and are reserved for people with no criminal history.

Do I need a lawyer for a Georgia Possession of Marijuana – Less than One Ounce case?

Definitely. While both pre-trial diversion and conditional discharge are good options for individuals charged with Possession of Marijuana – Less than One Ounce, the prosecutor is not guaranteed to offer them to you or agree to them. For this reason, you need an attorney with a proven track record of negotiating excellent outcomes for clients charged with drug offenses. If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, call me for a free consultation and we will discuss your options.

Is possession of less than 1oz of weed in Georgia a felony or a misdemeanor in Georgia? What are the possible outcomes? Get answers here, or call 404-403-2665. ]]>