Recreational marijuana use is still illegal in the state of Georgia. This means that any possession or activity that involves the drug is punishable by Georgia law. If you have been charged with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, it is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
However, if you have been charged with possession of more than one ounce of marijuana, it is a felony and punishable with anywhere from one to 10 years in prison and over $1,000 in fines. These are huge penalties for a small amount of substance, and they can have lasting effects on your life for years to come. In addition to these fines, your driving license will most likely be suspended. These suspension periods may be longer if you have previously been convicted of a drug crime:
- First Offense: 6 months
- Second Offense: 1 year
- Third and Subsequent Offenses: 2 years
In addition to possession charges, a trafficking charge is considered a felony and can have even more serious consequences. For the most part, trafficking is defined as possession, selling, manufacturing, and/or delivery. The following are the penalties you may be facing if you are caught with the following amounts of marijuana in the state of Georgia:
- 10–2,000 lbs: 5 years in prison MINIMUM
- 2,000–10,000 lbs: 7 years in prison MINIMUM
- 10,000+ lbs: 15 years in prison MINIMUM
If you have been charged with a marijuana-related misdemeanor or felony, it is critical that you get in touch with a criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact the attorneys at Pak and McRae Law, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia, today for a free initial consultation; we will listen to the particulars of your case and tell you honestly what options, if any, you have for getting your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
Medical Marijuana Is Legal in GA but Still Illegal at the Federal Level: Be Careful
On April 16, 2015, medical marijuana was legalized in the state of Georgia, as were low-THC cannabis oils. However, it is important to remember that federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug with a high potential for abuse, which means that any use of the drug remains illegal under federal law. What does this mean for Georgia patients using medical marijuana? It means that even if you are abiding by all Georgia marijuana laws, you could technically still get in trouble at the federal level. However, the chances of an individual facing federal prosecution for taking medicinal marijuana are incredibly slim. These types of cases are low priority for federal enforcement agencies who are more likely to bring a lawsuit against a dispensary or an illegal drug dealer.
If you are worried about getting charged at the federal level for your medical marijuana consumption, even if you are complying with Georgia law, it is advisable that you only purchase from legal sources, such as registered dispensaries. There may also be a greater chance for federal prosecution against large-scale dispensaries and growers who are making a large profit. By avoiding these types of sources, you may better your chances of avoiding trouble with the federal government.
How to Avoid a Marijuana DUI
Before 1999, a person could get a marijuana DUI in the state of Georgia for simply having marijuana in his or her system. Now, the police must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was less safe because of the marijuana present in the driver’s system. This is much more difficult to prove; therefore, if you have been charged with a marijuana DUI, you may have a good chance of having your charge reduced or dismissed in court with the help of a drug crime defense lawyer.
It is important to remember, however, that it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, no matter the reason for having taken the drug. This means that, even if you took the drug for medicinal purposes, you can be charged for driving while it’s in your system.
If you have to take marijuana for medical purposes, it is important that you know Georgia state laws in order to best avoid getting a marijuana DUI. If convicted, you may be facing jail time, fines, and probation. If you have been charged in Georgia, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Pak and McRae Law, LLC in Atlanta.