Yes, medical marijuana is legal in Georgia; however, it is only legal to use as a treatment for specific medical conditions.
You must apply for and obtain a medical marijuana registration card before you can use marijuana legally as a medical treatment. As of April 16, 2015, Georgia became the 24th state to enact a law allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes within the state. Georgia’s medical marijuana law is known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act. The law is named for Haleigh Cox, a young girl who suffered from seizures. She did not respond to conventional medication; therefore, Haleigh moved to Colorado with her mother to begin treatment using medical marijuana. It was a successful treatment for Haleigh’s condition. Once this drug became legal to use in Georgia, Haleigh and her mother were able to move back home.
Georgia’s medical marijuana law allows some patients to use a low-potency form of cannabis oil to treat certain diseases or illnesses. However, patients must obtain the drug from another state. Georgia’s laws do not permit anyone to grow or produce medical cannabis within the state. A recent survey indicated that roughly 84 percent of the people polled supported expanding Georgia’s medical marijuana law to allow for the production and distribution of cannabis oil within the state for medical purposes. For now, however, the law has yet to change.
Georgia Marijuana Possession Laws
At this time, marijuana is still illegal in Georgia except for medical marijuana used in strict compliance with Georgia law. Possessing up to one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor drug charge. You can also be charged with possession of marijuana if you possess marijuana seeds, marijuana stems, or a grinder with marijuana residue on it. If you are convicted on a misdemeanor marijuana charge in Georgia, you face up to 12 months in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, enrollment in a mandatory drug treatment plan, and/or community service.
If you are in possession of an ounce or more of marijuana, you can be charged with a felony drug crime. You can also be charged with manufacturing or trafficking marijuana—also felony charges—if you are in possession of large amounts of marijuana, baggies, large amounts of money, or other items that lead officers to believe you are selling the drug. If convicted on a felony marijuana charge, you face much stiffer punishments including up to 20 years in prison, automatic suspension of your driver’s license for one year, and substantial fines. You will lose your right to own and possess firearms and vote if you are convicted of a felony drug charge. In some cases, you may lose your job if you are required to maintain certain licenses as part of your employment. If you are in the United States illegally, you will be deported.
Have you been charged with a Georgia marijuana offense?
Contact the Atlanta criminal defense attorneys at Pak and McRae Law immediately. A drug charge does not mean that you are guilty of a crime. The state must prove its case to the court before you can be convicted and sentenced on a Georgia marijuana charge. Do not ignore a drug charge—even a conviction on a misdemeanor marijuana charge can carry severe penalties and have long-term negative consequences.
Request a consultation using our online form or call our office at (678) 632-5298.