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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.

Marijuana Possession Charges in Georgia

The State of Georgia takes all drug possession offenses very seriously, this includes marijuana. We are sadly well behind the national trends toward marijuana decriminalization and legalization. Maybe we will get there someday!

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But for now, if you are up against a marijuana charge and are concerned about the possibility of jail time and other serious consequences, please call our experienced Georiga defense attorneys for a consultation today.

With any marijuana possession conviction, you face a driver’s license suspension. If you can’t afford to be without your license, contact us to find out how we can help.

Possession of Marijuana Laws

You can be charged with possession of marijuana even if you are not “holding” the drugs.

That’s right – if you are “in control” of the marijuana you can be found to be in possession of it. This means that if the drugs are within your reach and a reasonable person would believe you had knowledge of it, you possess it. This could be in the glove compartment, on your coffee table, or under your seat.

First Offense Marijuana Possession Laws (less than 1 ounce)

If this is a first misdemeanor marijuana possession, we can fight for a conditional discharge, or diversion. What this means is the judge will order you to carry out a probation term. If this term is completed successfully, the marijuana charge will be dropped and not reflected on your record.

However, if you violate the probation, your case will be sent to trial and you will potentially face the maximum sentence for a first-time offender.

This probation can include drug counseling, therapy, attendance at meetings, etc.

If you are not granted a conditional discharge or your probation is revoked, the penalties for possession are up to $1,000 in fines and up to 1 year in prison.

Marijuana Possession Penalties – Second and subsequent offenses (less than 1 ounce)

If you are caught with less than 1 ounce for a second, or subsequent time, it is still considered a misdemeanor.

Under Georgia law, you will face up to $1,000 in fines and up to 1 year in prison.

Felony possession of Marijuana (more than one ounce)

If you are caught in possession of marijuana and it weighs more than one ounce, you are facing serious felony charges.

The potential charge for felony possession of marijuana is 1-10 years in prison and more than $1,000 in fines.

Marijuana Possession & Driver’s License Suspensions

Regardless of the amount of marijuana you are convicted of possessing, your driver’s license will be suspended . If you have any previous drug possession convictions, that will increase the length of your driver’s license suspension.

Charge

Third and subsequent offense

Minimum suspension term

Georgia driver’s license suspensions are to be taken seriously, and the penalties for driving on a suspended license can be significant, including jail time. See my suspended license penalties page for details.

What if I was caught with Marijuana in a school zone?

Possession charges within a school zone carry much harsher sentences. You can easily be in a school zone without even knowing it. This is true particularly if you were caught with enough marijuana to get you charged with “possession with intent to distribute”:

First Offense: If convicted, you may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and up to$20,000 in fines.

Second Offense : If convicted, you may be sentenced to at least 5 years in prison and no more than 40, as well as up to $40,000 in fines.

Is Marijuana Possession in Georgia Strictly Enforced and Harshly Prosecuted?

Yes. Georgia is the gateway between Florida and the entire East coast. Georgia law enforcement knows this means that many drugs flow through their state. For this reason, they take drug offenses very seriously.

With the rise in domestic growers cultivating the plant in Georgia, police are watching and waiting to catch big time dealers and small-time users.

For these reasons, you can’t afford to fool around with a marijuana possession charge in Georgia. If you don’t defend yourself, you can end up regretting the outcome.

**If you are concerned about the charges you are facing, you need an experienced firm working on your side. Call us to talk about your case today.

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Marijuana Possession Charges in Georgia The State of Georgia takes all drug possession offenses very seriously, this includes marijuana . We are sadly well behind the national trends toward