Prohibited drugs in Georgia are classified in categories known as drug schedules. To better understand how possession of controlled substances are penalized in the state, keep reading our blog where we will discuss Georgia’s five drug schedules and their respective sentencing.
The 5 Drug Schedules in Georgia
Like the federal government, Georgia divides controlled substances (CDS) into 5 categories based on their potential for harm and abuse. In Schedule I are drugs considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Schedule I drugs include:
- MDMA (ecstasy),
- psilocybin (mushrooms).
Note that marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug by the federal government. However, Georgia does penalize marijuana possession differently than other Schedule I drugs in that simple possession of less than one ounce is a misdemeanor.
Schedule II drugs also have a high potential for abuse, though some have an accepted medical use. Schedule II drugs include:
Drugs in Schedule III are considered to have less potential for abuse than those in Schedule I and II, though they can lead to limited physical and psychological dependence if abused. Some Schedule III drugs are for accepted medical use. Some common Schedule III drugs include:
- anabolic steroids,
- Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants,
- CNS stimulants.
Schedule IV includes drugs considered to have low potential for abuse compared to those in Schedule III but, similarly, may lead to limited physical and psychological dependance if abused. Schedule IV drugs also have some accepted medical use. The following are some prescription drugs categorized in Schedule IV:
Lastly, in Schedule V are drugs considered to have a low potential for abuse and have a legitimate medical use. While limited physical and psychological dependence may occur if abused, Schedule V drugs are rarely abused and are often used for medications, such as blood pressure medication.
Note that Georgia has a law addressing over-the-counter medications (O.C.G.A. § 16-13-29.1) that specifically exempts certain non-narcotic substances from all drug schedules and allows for them to be purchased over the counter (OTC) with no prescription required. OTC medications include certain tablets, syrups, inhalers, sprays, elixirs, and ointments.
Penalties and Sentencing
Possession of any controlled substance is a felony in Georgia. The state’s drug possession penalties vary based on the drug schedule classification:
- Schedule I or Schedule II narcotic: a felony punishable by 2 to 15 years in prison; a second or subsequent conviction is punishable by 5 to 30 years in prison.
- Schedule II other than a narcotic: a felony punishable by 2 to 15 years in prison; a second or subsequent conviction is punishable by 5 to 30 years in prison.
- Schedule III, IV, or V: a felony punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison; a second or subsequent conviction is punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison.
Be aware that the penalty for possession of marijuana depends on the amount involved in the offense. Simple possession of marijuana less than one ounce is punished as a misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and/or up to 1 year in jail, as well as potential community service for up to 1 year. However, possession of more than an ounce of cannabis is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Further note that the possession of, or possession with the intent to use, drug-related objects is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Examples of such drug paraphernalia include:
- materials for cultivating or growing CDS,
- materials for packaging, storing, or containing CDS,
- objects used to conceal CDS, or
- items used to inhale, inject, or otherwise administer or ingest CDS.
Let Daniels & Taylor, P.C. Fight For You
Drug possession is a serious crime in Georgia. The penalties you face, however, will depend on what schedule of drug you have been charged with possessing and what amount you had. If you are facing drug-related charges, contact an experienced defense attorney immediately. Put experience and knowledge on your side with Daniels & Taylor, P.C. in Gwinnet County. Speak with one of our lawyers today to determine your next steps in the legal process.
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