A growing number of states have not only legalized medical marijuana, but have also legalized recreational use. However, the medicinal cannabis law in Georgia is quite limited, and recreational use is still illegal.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Georgia
In 2015, Georgia approved a law that allows qualified patients to possess up to 20 ounces of oil extracts containing up to five (5) percent THC and an amount of CBD equal to or greater than that specific amount (also known as high-CBD/low-THC oils). In 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 195 into law (which takes effect on July 1, 2021), paving the way for the cultivation, manufacturing, and sale of high-CBD/low-THC oils by awarding licenses to eligible applicants.
Recreational Cannabis Laws in GA
Recreational marijuana is still against the law in Georgia. Therefore, possession without a medical license can result in criminal charges.
Possession of one (1) ounce (oz.) of marijuana or less in Georgia is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one (1) year and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of more than one (1) oz. is a felony, which carries a prison term of up to ten (10) years (with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year) and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
Cultivation, sale, delivery, or possession with intent to distribute ten (10) pounds (lbs.) of pot or less is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to ten (10) years (with a mandatory minimum term of one year) and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Cultivation, sale, delivery, or possession with intent to distribute between ten (10) and 2,000 lbs. of cannabis is a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years (with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years) and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
Possession of Hash & Concentrates
Possession of less than one (1) gram (g) of a solid substance or less than one milliliter (ml) of a liquid substance is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to three (3) years (with a mandatory minimum term of one year) and/or a maximum fine of $5,000. Manufacturing, selling, distributing, or possessing with the intent to distribute is a felony that carries a maximum prison term of 30 years (with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years) and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia
Possession or sale of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of one (1) year and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.
The Impact of the 2018 Farm Bill
Although Georgia has yet to “decriminalize” recreational use of marijuana like some other states, the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill has made enforcing state possession laws more complicated. Under federal law, hemp products are legal if the percentage of THC is three (3) percent or less.
Therefore, Georgia police need a scientific test showing the percentage of THC or else they can’t prove it’s not just hemp under the Harper scientific evidence standard. However, the only place in Georgia that will test THC percentage for the police is the GBI crime lab – and they don't have time to test every marijuana sample in the state.
So, state law enforcement officials have stopped testing anything less than an ounce of marijuana. In fact, the Misdemeanor Solicitor of Gwinnett County, Brian Whiteside, is not prosecuting misdemeanor possession cases in State Court.
Essentially, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is decriminalized in Gwinnett County. Thus, our legal team at Daniels & Taylor, P.C. can get most misdemeanor cases reduced or even dropped.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a drug crime in Gwinnett County, contact Daniels & Taylor, P.C. today at (770) 285-1673 for a free initial consultation. Serving Lawrenceville and beyond since 1994.