Recently, President Biden announced the pardon of thousands of people who had been convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law. Although many analysts said the move was largely symbolic, it is a symbol of something important.
Across the nation, social attitudes about marijuana have been changing rapidly, and laws have been changing as well. Many states have loosened their restrictions on marijuana, and a majority of states now have some form of a medical marijuana program. Nineteen have decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana.
While this has been going on for years, federal law has not kept up with the changes. Federal law continues to regard marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it is considered as dangerous as highly addictive street drugs like heroin and powerful psychoactive substances like LSD.
This may be in the process of changing. When he announced the pardons, President Biden announced he was beginning the process of taking marijuana out of the Schedule I category. If this goes forward, the penalties for those convicted of federal charges related to marijuana could greatly change.
Marijuana law in Georgia
It’s important to note for our Georgia readers that Georgia is not one of the states that have greatly loosened their marijuana laws. Georgia has a strictly limited medical marijuana program, but otherwise, our state’s marijuana laws remain strict.
Possession of an ounce or less is treated as a misdemeanor under state law, carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of any more than one ounce is treated as a felony, with a minimum sentence of one year’s imprisonment and a maximum of 10 years.
Any sale of marijuana is treated as a felony. Those convicted of selling 10 pounds or less face a sentence of 1-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Defense against drug charges
The landscape of marijuana law is changing rapidly in states across the country, and perhaps at the federal level. With all this going on, it’s easy to see how a Georgia resident could end up on the wrong side of state law. Defending against these charges is difficult and requires experienced help.