The 2016 election cycle has been an important one for marijuana law reform. Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and California all passed legislation that legalized the medical and recreational use of cannabis. Voters in Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and Arkansas have all approved legislation that either legalized the medical use of cannabis or loosened the restrictions for the medical use of the drug. As of right now, the majority of the United States (28 including the District of Columbia) has legalized use of marijuana for medical and/or recreational use.
With all of these changes to existing marijuana laws taking place, it is important to be familiar with your own states particular rules and regulations. The state of Georgia has relatively strict laws governing the use of cannabis, but it can be legally used in some situations.
The legal use of marijuana is very limited in the state of Georgia. Governor Nathan Deal signed Heleigh’s Hope Act on April 16th, 2015 and this act allows for the medical use of cannabis oil with a high CBD (the pain-killing agent present in cannabis) and not more than 5% THC (the psychoactive agent in cannabis that is largely responsible for the high). The use of this type of cannabis oil is used to treat individuals suffering from ALS, cancer, sickle cell anemia, Crohn’s disease, seizures, multiple sclerosis, and many other conditions.
· Possession – Possession of marijuana is still illegal unless you have the acceptable medical cannabis oil and the proper medical documents stating you can legally use it. Possession of an ounce or less is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1000. Possession of more than an ounce is a felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5000.
If it is proven that you had the intent to distribute, it is a felony that is punishable by 1 to 40 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
· Sale or Delivery – The sale or delivery of marijuana is a felony that is punishable by between 1 and 40 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000,000. The severity of the penalty is determined by the amount that was being sold or distributed.
· Paraphernalia – Possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1000 and up to a year of imprisonment.
These are just the most common charges relating to illegal marijuana use in Georgia. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has a webpage for Georgia and every other US state with the current marijuana laws in place. If you are involved in a legal situation regarding marijuana-related charges, you may want to contact a legal professional who is familiar with the current laws. They will be able to advise you and help guide you through the legal process.