Marijuana Possession Georgia: Is It a Misdemeanor or a Felony Crime?
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Being charged with Marijuana possession in Georgia can have significant consequences on one’s life. Get the facts on the law here.
Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.
Published on April 07, 2021, last updated on April 14, 2021.
Is Marijuana Possession Georgia a Serious Crime?
Although cultural attitudes towards marijuana have changed in the United States, the courts and laws in some states, including Georgia, have not kept up with this change. It may seem that this is a minor crime, but that is not the case. Some marijuana offenses are felonies, such as possession of more than one ounce of marijuana.
Limited medical marijuana is legalized. Patients with a Low THC Oil Registry Card that can be obtained at the Georgia Department of Health can possess up to 20 fluid ounces of low THC cannabis oil. The oil can not contain more than 0.5% THC per weight. The registry cards are distributed to the GA residents who have a doctor’s prescription to treat cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, and other conditions and diseases.
It’s important to note that marijuana charges are not the same as convictions. Those who are convicted face serious penalties; their future and driver’s license are at stake. It’s essential to hire a lawyer who is knowledgeable in this field to make sure your rights are protected.
If you are facing a marijuana charge in Georgia, you need to consult an experienced marijuana attorney as soon as possible. At Philip Kim Law, P.C., we provide skilled drug criminal defense representation to clients in Lawrenceville, GA, and throughout the surrounding areas. Reach out and schedule a free consultation today.
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Georgia Marijuana Possession Laws: An Overview
State laws regarding marijuana differ from one state to another. For example, some countries have decriminalized possession and even cultivation of marijuana. Approximately half of all states allow the medical use of cannabis and some, including Georgia, have legalized CBD oil, a cannabis derivative with little or no amounts of THC. Despite all that, the sale and possession of marijuana are still illegal under the federal law known as the Controlled Substances Act.
The Georgia Controlled Substances Act, O.C.G.A. §16-13-1(a)(1), regulates crimes and offenses related to controlled substances, including the possession of marijuana in this state. Georgia marijuana laws are very strict when it comes to the use of cannabis. Under Georgia law, misdemeanor marijuana possession includes possession of marijuana of one ounce or less.
Possession of marijuana of more than one ounce to 10 pounds is a felony. In addition, if you have in your possession 10 pounds of marijuana or more, that is considered trafficking. This refers to the possession of parts of marijuana plants.
A marijuana charge can also lead to other charges. For example, if police find marijuana in someone’s car, they will typically search and often find some sort of device to smoke it out of. Under Georgia law, any equipment material or any mechanism used for making, concealing, using, or ingesting the controlled substance is considered drug paraphernalia. How the criminal system will treat the individual for possessing paraphernalia depends on their criminal history. Usually, subsequent offenses carry stricter penalties.
Marijuana Extracts: Felony or Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession in GA?
Marijuana is not a scheduled substance, but its extracts are. Possession of most marijuana extracts at any amount or even one milliliter of concentrates in a liquid state is considered a felony crime. These extracts are increasingly popular and go by many names, including hash, BHO (butane hash oil), wax, dabs, etc. Furthermore, possession of even one marijuana edible also leads to a felony charge.
Many individuals who used to smoke marijuana are now using its extracts. They are more potent, and many of them lack a strong smell. These marijuana extracts make it easy for people to use vaporizer pens, especially in public, or transport it and even hide it.
Georgia has an organized schedule of illegal drugs when it comes to drug possession. Possession of a Schedule I drug is considered the most serious offense, and THC that is used to infuse into marijuana edibles is a Schedule I drug. Marijuana extracts are also a Schedule I drug, meaning that if you are caught with even a smudge of leftover hash oil inside a container of your vape pen, it could result in Georgia criminal charge.
There are three tiers of penalties, and they are determined by the weight of these substances. Penalties get harsher with each gram or milliliter of marijuana extracts. If you are charged, a qualified lawyer will make sure you understand your options and assist you with your case.
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Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in Georgia
A marijuana possession charge is not something that should be taken lightly. If a person is caught with one ounce of marijuana or less, punishment includes up to one year in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. Under Georgia laws, it is a crime to possess marijuana for personal use, even if it’s less than one ounce. For a first offense, you would be dealing with misdemeanor charges. A second subsequent offense for marijuana possession of less than one ounce would still result in a misdemeanor charge.
Growing marijuana or possessing more than an ounce, even for your personal use, can lead to felony possession charges. Possession of marijuana of more than one ounce up to 10 pounds is considered felony possession and can result in confinement between 1 and 10 years in prison and fines that may be up to $5,000.
If an individual has been found guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for a maximum sentence of 10 years, the judge may impose the penalties for a misdemeanor. This type of misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year of jail time. But, if an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, the fine will go up to $5,000.
When it comes to possession of marijuana extracts, possession of less than 1g of solid substance or less than 1ml of liquid substance can result in one to three years in prison and up to $5,000. For possession of 1g but less than 4g of solid substance or 1ml but less than 4ml of liquid substance, an individual can spend from 1 to 8 years in prison, while the fine stays up to $5,000. For marijuana edibles, sentences are the same.
While some major metropolitan GA areas like Atlanta and Savannah have decriminalized marijuana, possession of marijuana, its use, and distribution are, at large, still illegal. For example, in Metro Atlanta suburbs like Lawrenceville, marijuana possession hasn’t been decriminalized.
Marijuana offenses are changing nationwide, but you’ll still need a solid defense so that drug possession charges or trafficking charges don’t follow you for the rest of your life. Attorney Philip Kim knows GA marijuana laws. If you are charged with possession of marijuana, the legal team at his law firm will be able to protect your future and your family.
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Possession of Marijuana With Intent to Distribute Georgia
It’s illegal to cultivate, deliver, sell, possess, and distribute any controlled substance in the state of Georgia. Possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute is an even more severe crime than simple possession of this drug.
To be guilty of this offense, the Georgia has to prove that the accused actually had the intent of distributing. To do that, authorities can use witness testimonies or other evidence such as having a small scale or many container baggies.
The penalty for this offense is a prison sentence from one to ten years. However, the severity of penalties also depends on the quantity of controlled substances a person had. In addition, if it occurred within 1,000 feet of school grounds, in a drug-free zone, or near a housing project, penalties may increase to up to twenty years in prison with a possible fine of up to $20,000.
It is also illegal to have in your possession marijuana edibles with the intent of distributing them. The mandatory minimum if convicted for this offense is five years in prison. However, penalties may go to even 30 years in prison, with fines of up to $5,000.
If you are facing Georgia criminal charges, you need effective defense representation. Philip Kim, a skillful Georgia criminal defense lawyer, will work with you personally throughout the legal process and help you understand your rights and how the criminal justice system works. At Philip Kim Law, P.C., criminal defense law is what we do. If you are unsure whether we are the right option for you, read more about our law firm before retaining our services and establishing an attorney-client relationship.
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Hire an Experienced Lawyer for Your Possession Marijuana Georgia Case
With drug-related offenses, authorities have to show that the accused individual actually possessed the drug. There are two kinds of possession: constructive and actual. And while actual possession refers to drugs being found in your pocket or purse, constructive is a bit more complicated. For example, constructive possession refers to when the drugs are found in your car, your home, or in a place where you have access and control over, or you are the owner.
All drug possession cases will lead to a mandatory driver’s license suspension. For the first offense, the suspension will be at least six months. For the second offense marijuana Georgia possession, you’ll face driver’s license suspension for a year and two years for a third or subsequent offense.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or any drug, even marijuana, you could end up being charged with DUI drugs. There’s an exception if the drug use is lawful or prescribed by a doctor. In every other case, driving under the influence of marijuana can lead to serious consequences. The best thing you can do is hire a DUI lawyer, such as Philip Kim, who has a proven record of success defending clients in Lawrenceville, throughout Gwinnett County, and across GA surrounding areas when fighting DUI drug charges.
Sometimes, Georgia courts will allow a conditional release for individuals who are facing their first criminal offense. This program is similar to probation – an accused individual has to satisfy conditions set by a judge in order to have charges removed from their record. These conditions often include undergoing drug counseling or medical treatment. But, if the accused fails to comply with these terms, the court will sentence him or her up to the maximum penalty for their criminal offense.
An experienced criminal defense attorney such as Philip Kim may be able to challenge the evidence against you or request that the case be diverted or dropped if you, the accused, complete drug counseling and community service. Call us today and schedule a free consultation to begin exploring your legal options.
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