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Jenny Bloom

June 12, 2019

In the state of Georgia, cannabis is not considered a scheduled substance. However, it is regulated by the state through its Georgia Controlled Substances Act. Although some marijuana offenses are considered felonies, most are now imposed as misdemeanors.

Georgia’s medical CBD law allows for the use of CBD by those with severe, debilitating issues caused by epilepsy. The law gives them the right to use cannabis extracts to treat their conditions. These extracts must be low in THC and high in CBD.

Possessing Marijuana in Georgia

For those who don’t fall under Georgia’s medical CBD law, possession of less than 1 ounce of cannabis for personal use is a misdemeanor. It’s punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and/or 12 months of incarceration. A person caught possessing more than one ounce of marijuana for personal use is subject to felony prosecution. This could lead to 1-10 years in prison.

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Georgia considers all cases of possession with intent to distribute cannabis felonies. This charge is punishable as follows:

• 10 pounds or less = 1 to 10 years in prison

• 10 to 2,000 pounds = 5 to 30 years in prison and a $100,000 fine

• 2,000 to 10,000 pounds = 7 to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine

• More than 10,000 pounds = 15 to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine

Offenses involving drug-free zones, such as housing projects, parks, and school grounds are treated much more severely in the state of Georgia. Those convicted of possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of these areas face felony punishments:

• First offense = Up to 20 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine

• Second & subsequent offenses = 5 to 40 years in prison and/or a $40,000 fine

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According to the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, there is an affirmative defense for these charges:

• The act happened within the privacy of the person’s home

• There was no financial gain expected from the conduct

• No one under the age of 17 was involved or present

Selling Marijuana in Georgia

Georgia’s Controlled Substance Act forbids the sale of marijuana anywhere in the state. All sales are considered felonies, and are punishable as follows for the sale or delivery of cannabis:

• Less than 10 pounds = 1 to 10 years in prison

• 10 to 2,000 pounds = 5 to 30 years in prison and a $100,000 fine

• 2,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds = 7 to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine

• More than 10,000 pounds = 15 to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine

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Selling or delivering cannabis within 1,000 feet of a drug-free zones, including housing projects, parks, and school grounds is a serious offense. This felony is punishable as follows:

• First offense = Up to 20 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine

• Second & subsequent offenses = 5 to 40 years in prison and/or a $40,000 fine

The state of Georgia also allows for an affirmative defense in these cases as well (see Possessing Marijuana in Georgia above).

Growing and Manufacturing Marijuana in Georgia

It is a felony to grow marijuana in the state of Georgia. Anyone found cultivating cannabis in Georgia is subject to both fines and prison time as follows:

• Growing less than 10 pounds = 1 to 10 years in prison

• Growing 10 to 2,000 pounds = 5 to 30 years in prison and a $100,000 fine

• Growing 2,000 to 10,000 pounds = 7 to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine

• Growing more than 10,000 pounds = 15 to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine

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Cultivating marijuana within 1,000 feet of a park, housing project, school grounds or any other place considered to be a drug-free zone is punishable by hefty fines and prison sentences:

• First offense = No more than 20 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine

• Second & subsequent offenses = 5 to 40 years in prison and/or a $40,000 fine

The affirmative defense also applies in cases of growing marijuana within 1,000 feet of Georgia’s drug-free zones (see Possessing Marijuana in Georgia above).

Using Marijuana in Georgia

Georgia does not legally allow the use of any form of cannabis within the state unless it’s solely for medicinal purposes. Its medical CBD law doesn’t allow the use marijuana in its pure form. However, cannabis extracts with low THC and high CBD levels are prescribed to those with debilitating, severe cases of epilepsy.

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Those who do buy medical marijuana in Georgia are subject to a cannabis tax stamp law. It mandates that anyone who possesses the drug must purchase a stamp issued by the state. This stamp must be affixed to the contraband purchased by the user. Any marijuana seized by authorities that is not stamped is subject to an additional tax of $3.50 per gram (up to 42.5 grams).

Possession of any type of paraphernalia in the state of Georgia is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 1 year in jail. These punishments increase after the first offense.

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Cannabis concentrates, and hashish with more than 15% THC are considered Schedule I substances. In Georgia, the penalties for possessing these substances are more severe than those involving pure marijuana. However, if the hashish or concentrates contain less than 15% THC, this possession could fall under the medical CBD act.

Breaking the Marijuana Laws in Georgia

Georgia state courts follow minimum sentencing laws. That means that a person found guilty of a crime punishable by a mandated minimum sentence, they must be sentenced to no less than that amount of time. The judge presiding over the case has no choice, legally, but to sentence the offender to a time no less than the mandatory minimum.

However, the state does allow for alternative and diversion sentencing, as well as conditional release. These options are generally available for a person prosecuted for a first offense. Conditional release allows the person to skip going to trial, and be placed on probation instead. After the probation period has been completed, the criminal record may still reflect the original sentence.

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In Georgia, property, such as vehicles, can be seized if they were used during a violation of the controlled substance laws of the state. If this happens, the owner has 30 days to claim any property valued at less than $25,000. However, it’s up to the state’s district attorney to respond within 30 days, which may be a denial.

If an adult’s controlled substance conviction involves the use of a motor vehicle, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended for up to 3 years. When these cases involve minors between the ages of 13-20, the suspended driving sentence is for 1 year. For an unlicensed minor in such a case, the one-year suspension begins the day the minor becomes a licensed driver.

Marijuana legislation can be complicated, but Jenny Bloom is always up for the task. Although not a lawyer, her experience as a reporter and PR specialist helps her understand legalese – especially when it relates to growing marijuana. A passionate supporter of legalization and home... [read more]

1 Comments

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  1. By John

    ,16 Apr 2018
    If I wanted to grow for medical use only and sell to the mfg. for the state of Georgia, and do it legal now would i go about this?

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