Both medicinal and recreational marijuana are becoming legal in more and more states. Georgia is not yet one of them.
Marijuana is considered a controlled substance under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act. Although the effects of using marijuana are not usually as serious as harder drugs, such as heroin or methamphetamine, the penalties for marijuana possession in Georgia are major.
Potential possession penalties
The penalty for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana is up to $1,000 in fines and a prison term of up to one year. The crime is a misdemeanor. However, possessing more than one ounce of marijuana is a felony, punishable by fines and up to 10 years in prison.
When you are charged with possession of marijuana, it is important to remember that the prosecution must prove the possession beyond a reasonable doubt. Additionally, there are two types of possession: actual and constructive. The prosecution must prove either one of these to secure a conviction.
Actual and constructive possession
Actual possession happens when marijuana is physically found on you, such as in your pocket or purse. Constructive possession occurs when the marijuana is found in a place that you exercise control over, such as your home or vehicle. In that case, you are legally presumed to possess marijuana.
Constructive possession can be harder to prove. The prosecution must generally show more than the marijuana being found in a place that you were in physical proximity to. They must show a link between you and where the drugs were found.
There are potential defenses to a possession charge. The specifics of your case can determine what defenses you could successfully assert.