In recent years, many states have changed their laws regarding the use of marijuana, also known as cannabis. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at where the law stands in Georgia.
Marijuana laws in our state
In Georgia, marijuana is illegal for recreational use state-wide, but it has been decriminalized in some cities. Georgia also has a limited medical marijuana program that decriminalized low-THC cannabis oil for certain patients.
According to Georgia Code, Section 16-12-191, some patients with specified medical conditions can legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of low-THC cannabis oil that contains no more than 5% THC and an equal or greater amount of CBD. To qualify for the program, patients must obtain a written certification from a physician licensed in Georgia and register with the Georgia Department of Public Health.
State-wide recreational marijuana laws
According to Georgia Code, Section 16-13-30, possession of marijuana can be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. It can also be a felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. However, some cities in Georgia have passed local ordinances that reduce or eliminate the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
In Atlanta, possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana is punishable by a civil fine of $75 instead of criminal charges. Similarly, in Macon, possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana is punishable by a civil fine of $75 instead of criminal charges. This same penalty extends to Clarkston and Forest.
Other cities have followed suit, but their civil fines are larger. For example, in Savannah, possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana is punishable by a civil fine of $150 instead of criminal charges. This is the same punishment in South Fulton, but Athens’ civil fine is one of the lowest at $35.
Does that mean recreational weed is legal in those cities?
Not exactly. To be clear, these are local ordinances that only apply within their city limits, and they do not change the state law. This means that possession of any amount of marijuana can still result in arrest and prosecution by state or federal authorities. It only means that the local police will not charge you. In theory, they could refer you to state or federal authorities for prosecution.