Equal Medicine Organization
US Dispensary

Georgia Marijuana Laws

Penalty Details

Marijuana is not a scheduled substance, but is regulated under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.

When a person is found guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for a maximum term of ten years or less, the judge may, impose punishment as for a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or by confinement in the county or other jail, county correctional institution, not to exceed 12 months, or both. A person convicted of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $5,000.00

See

  • Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-13-25 – 30 
  • O.C.G.A. § 17-10-3, 4, & 5 

Possession for Personal Use

Possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000, or public works for up to 12 months. Possession of over an ounce is a felony punishable by a minimum of 1 and maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-2(b) 
  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(j)

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession with intent to distribute 10 pounds or less of marijuana is a felony punishable by a minimum of 1 and maximum of 10 years imprisonment. Possession of over 10 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds is punishable by a minimum of 5 years and maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $100,000. Possession of 2,000 pounds or more but less than 10,000 pounds is punishable by a minimum of 7 years and maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Possession of 10,000 pounds or more is punishable by a minimum of 15 years and maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(j) 
  • O.C.G.A. §§ 16-13-31(c), (h) 

Possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of school grounds, a park, or a housing project, or in a drug free zone is a felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $20,000 for a first offense. A second or subsequent offense is punishable by a minimum of 5 years and maximum of 40 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $40,000. It is an affirmative defense that the conduct took place entirely within a private residence, no one 17 years old or younger was present, and the conduct was not committed for financial gain.

See

  • O.C.G.A. §§ 16-13-32.4 – 32.6

Sale/Delivery

Sale or delivery of 10 pounds or less of marijuana is a felony punishable by a minimum of 1 and maximum of 10 years imprisonment. Sale or delivery of over 10 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds is punishable by a minimum of 5 years and maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $100,000. Sale or delivery of 2,000 pounds or more but less than 10,000 pounds is punishable by a minimum of 7 years and maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Sale or delivery of 10,000 pounds or more is punishable by a minimum of 15 years and maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(j)

Sale or delivery within 1,000 feet of school grounds, a park, or a housing project, or in a drug free zone is a felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $20,000 for a first offense. A second or subsequent offense is punishable by a minimum of 5 years and maximum of 40 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $40,000. It is an affirmative defense that the conduct took place entirely within a private residence, no one 17 years old or younger was present, and the conduct was not committed for financial gain.

See

  • O.C.G.A. §§ 16-13-32.4 – 32.6 

Cultivation

Cultivation of 10 pounds or less of marijuana is a felony punishable by a minimum of 1 and maximum of 10 years imprisonment. Cultivation of over 10 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds is punishable by a minimum of 5 years and maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $100,000. Cultivation of 2,000 pounds or more but less than 10,000 pounds is punishable by a minimum of 7 years and maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Cultivation of 10,000 pounds or more is punishable by a minimum of 15 years and maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(j) 
  • O.C.G.A. §§ 16-13-31(c), (h)

Cultivation within 1,000 feet of school grounds, a park, or a housing project, or in a drug free zone is a felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $20,000 for a first offense. A second or subsequent offense is punishable by a minimum of 5 years and maximum of 40 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $40,000. It is an affirmative defense that the conduct took place entirely within a private residence, no one 17 years old or younger was present, and the conduct was not committed for financial gain.

See

  • O.C.G.A. §§ 16-13-32.4 to 32.6 

Hash & Concentrates

In Georgia, hashish and concentrates that contain more than 15% THC by volume are a Schedule I substance and are punished more harshly than natural-form marijuana.

See

  • Ga. Code Ann. § 16-13-25(3)(P)
  • Ga. Code Ann. § 16-13-21 (16)

Possessing less than 1 gram of a solid substance, less than 1 milliliter of a liquid substance or placed onto a secondary medium with a combined weight of less than 1 gram is a felony, punishable by imprisonment of not less than 1 year nor more than 3 years. Possessing 1 gram but less than 4 grams of a solid substance, 1 milliliter but less than 4 milliliters of a liquid substance or if placed onto a secondary medium with a combined weight of 1 gram but less than 4 grams is a felony, punishable by imprisonment of not less than 1 year nor more than 8 years. Possessing 4 grams but less than 28 grams of a solid substance, 4 milliliters but less than 28 milliliters of a liquid substance, or if placed onto a secondary medium with a combined weight of 4 grams but less than 28 grams is a felony punishable by imprisonment of not less than 1 year nor more than 15 years.

Manufacturing, distributing, selling, or possessing hashish or concentrates with the intent to distribute is a felony, which is punishable by imprisonment for not less than 5 years nor more than 30 years. Upon conviction of a second or subsequent offense, the violator shall be imprisoned for not less than 10 years nor more than 40 years or life imprisonment.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30 

Possession of paraphernalia with the intent to use said paraphernalia to ingest or produce hashish or concentrates is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year and prison and a maximum fine of $1,000.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-32.2. 

Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to deliver hashish or concentrates within 1,000 ft. of a school, housing project, public park, or commercial drug-free zone is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $20,000.00, or both. Subsequent offenses bring enhanced penalties.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-32.4 
  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-32.5 
  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-32.6 

Paraphernalia

Possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000. Sale or possession with intent to distribute is a misdemeanor for the first offense punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000, a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature for a second offense punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $5,000, and a felony for a third offense punishable by a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 5 years imprisonment and a fine up to $5,000.

See

  • O.C.G.A. §§ 16-13-32 to 32.2
  • O.C.G.A. §§ 17-10-3 to 4

Sentencing

A person who has not previously been convicted of a drug charge in any US territory may, after being convicted of or pleading guilty to a marijuana possession charge, have the proceedings against them deferred and be put on probation for up to 5 years. The probation may include mandatory drug treatment for up to 3 years. Successful completion of the terms of probation will result in result in a dismissal of the proceedings against the person.

See

  • O.C.G.A. §§ 16-13-2(a), (c) 

When a person is found guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for a maximum term of 10 years or less, the judge may, in his discretion, sentence that person as if it were a misdemeanor.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 17-10-5

Repeat felony offenses are to be sentenced by the maximum term allowed for by the felony committed.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 17-10-7

Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized for controlled substance violations. The seizing agency has 60 days after the seizure to initiate a forfeiture proceeding. The seizing agency must notify all those with an interest in the property. If the property value is $25,000 or less, then a person with an interest in the property has 30 days to make a claim to it, to which the district attorney has 30 days to respond.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-49

Miscellaneous

Abandoning dangerous drugs

Anyone who abandons a controlled substance, including marijuana, in a public place is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-3 
  • O.C.G.A. § 17-10-3 
Involvement of a minor in a marijuana offense

Involving a minor in the sale or cultivation of marijuana is a felony punishable by a minimum of 5 years and maximum of 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $20,000.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(k)
Distribution of marijuana flavored product

The sale or delivery of a marijuana flavored product to a minor is a misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine for each offense.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30.6 
Use of communications facility in a controlled substances felony

Use of any communications facility, including a computer, a telephone, or mail, in the commission or facilitation of a drug offense that is considered a felony is punishable by a minimum of 1 year and maximum of 4 years and/or a fine up to $30,000.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-13-32.3 
Suspension of driver’s license

Any conviction of a marijuana possession, sale, or cultivation offense results in suspension of that individual’s driving license. For a first offense in 5 years, the period of suspension is at least 180 days and the restoration fee is up to $210, or $200 when reinstatement is processed by mail. A second offense in 5 years results in a suspension for at least 3 years, but after 1 year the individual may apply for reinstatement for a fee up to $310, or $300 when reinstatement is processed by mail. A third or subsequent offense in 5 years results in a suspension for at least 5 years, but after 2 years the individual may apply for reinstatement a 3 year driving permit if certain conditions are met and they pay a fee up to $410, or $400 when reinstatement is processed by mail.

See

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-5-75(a)
CONDITIONAL RELEASE

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

DRUGGED DRIVING

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold.

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

MEDICAL CBD

This state has passed a medical CBD law allowing for the use of cannabis extracts that are high in CBD and low in THC in instances where a physician has recommended such treatment to a patient with a state-qualifying condition.

TAX STAMPS

This state has a marijuana tax stamp law enacted. This law mandates that those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction. For more information, see NORML’s report Marijuana Tax Stamp Laws And Penalties.

Georgia Drugged Driving

In Georgia, a person is guilty of a DUI if he or she is: (1) driving while under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive; OR (2) if a person operates a motor vehicle with any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance present in the person’s body. Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-391(a) (West 2010).

(1) Driving Under the Influence

A person is guilty of a DUI if that person drives any moving vehicle while under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive. Id. § 40-6-391(a)(2).

Affirmative Defense

The fact that a person is or has been legally entitled to use a drug shall not constitute a defense against this first type of DUI. However, a person shall be guilty of a DUI unless such person is rendered incapable of driving safely as a result of using a drug other than alcohol which such person is legally entitled to use. Id. § 40-6-391(b).

(2) Driving while there is any amount of controlled substance present in the person’s body

A person is guilty of a DUI if that person drives a vehicle and that person has any amount of controlled substance present in the person’s blood or urine, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both. Id. § 40-6-391(a)(6).

NOTE: Actual impairment is not an element of this offense. Cannabis metabolites can be detected in a person’s body up to one month after use, thus it is possible to be convicted of this type of DUI weeks after a person last ingested cannabis.

Affirmative Defense

The fact that a person is or has been legally entitled to use a drug shall not constitute a defense against this second type of DUI. However, a person shall be guilty of a DUI unless such person is rendered incapable of driving safely as a result of using a drug other than alcohol which such person is legally entitled to use. Id. § 40-6-391(b).

Implied Consent

  • Any person who operates a motor vehicle in Georgia shall be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test or tests of his or her blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol or any other drug. Id. § 40-5-55. The officer selects which test or tests to be administered. Id. § 40-5-55.
  • Refusal by the driver to submit to chemical tests at the time of his arrest shall be admissible in evidence against him in any criminal trial. Ga. Code Ann. 40-6-392(d).
  • Refusal to submit to test(s) will result in the suspension of driving privileges, but the driver may request a hearing, in writing, within ten business days of the incident. Id. § 40-5-67.1(g).
  • The person tested may have a physician or a qualified technician, chemist, registered nurse, or other qualified person of his own choosing administer a chemical test or tests in addition to any administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer. The justifiable failure or inability to obtain an additional test shall not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the test or tests taken at the direction of a law enforcement officer. Id. § 40-6-392(a)(3).

Penalties

  • First offense – fine of $300-$1,000 (plus fees and assessments which can add 20% to 25%); incarceration of 10 days to 12 months (mandatory minimum of 24 hours); mandatory minimum of 40 hours of community service; probation for 12 months; mandatory participation in a 20-hour risk reduction program ($175 + assessment fee of $75 to be paid by offender). Id. § 40-6-391(c)(1).
  • Second offense – Fine of $600-$1,000 (plus fees and assessments which can add 20% to 30%); incarceration of 90 days to 12 months (mandatory minimum of 72 continuous hours); mandatory community service of not less than (30) days; probation of 12 months; mandatory alcohol and drug treatment – repeat offender must participate in a 20-hour Risk Reduction ($175 + assessment fee of $75); license suspension of three-years (no limited driving privileges can be reinstated for 12 months); a photo of offender will be published in local newspaper with the name and address of offender (offender is assessed an additional $25 fee cover the cost publishing); judge may either order an ignition interlock device. Id. § 40-6-391(c)(2).
  • Third offense – fine of $1,000 to $5,000 (plus surcharges and assessments, which can add 20% to 30%); incarceration of 120 days to 12 months (mandatory minimum of 15 days); mandated community service of not less than 30 days; probation of 12 months; mandatory participation in alcohol and drug treatment program (fee of $175 plus an assessment fee of $75); license revocation of five-years; a photo of offender will be published in local newspaper with the name and address of offender (offender is assessed an additional $25 fee cover the cost publishing); judge may either order an ignition interlock. Id. § 40-6-391(c)(3).
  • Forth and subsequent offenses (since July, 2008) felony – fine ranging from$1000 to $5000, incarceration of not less than one year nor more than five years (mandatoryninety days); offender’s vehicle subject to seizure; at least sixty days of community service; other requirements of a third offense are also applicable. Id. § 40-6-391(c)(4).

NOTE: offender can be convicted and sentenced for multiple counts arising from the same set of operative facts – i.e. driving under the influence of drugs and/or driving with drug metabolites.

Other Penalties & Penalty Enhancers

  • DUI with passenger under 14 years of age in the vehicle constitutes the separate offense of endangering a child by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Id. § 40-6-391(l).

Sobriety Checkpoints

Georgia allows law enforcement officials to conduct roadblocks under both the State and Federal Constitution.

  • Abnormal or unusual actions taken to avoid a roadblock may give an officer a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity even when the evasive action is not illegal; however, completely normal driving, even if it incidentally evades the roadblock, does not justify a Terry-type stop. Taylor v. State, 249 Ga. App. 733 (2001).

Case Law

State v. Kachwalla, 561 S.E.2d 403 (2002) — as they pertain to DUI, “Less safe to drive” and “rendered incapable of driving safely” are synonymous.

Love v. State, 517 S.E.2d 53 (1999) — A statute which drew an arbitrary distinction concerning the rights of legal and illegal users of marijuana to drive a car was unconstitutional even though it passed the rational relationship test.

Cronan v. State, 511 S.E.2d 899 – Definition of “marijuana” in Motor Vehicles Act expressly includes cannabis metabolites. This allows prosecution for driving under the influence of marijuana based on presence of THC in urine, but a defendant cannot be convicted of possession of marijuana when he tests positive for THC.

Kevinezz v. State, 454 S.E.2d 441, 442 (1995) — “As any amount’ necessarily means any amount greater than zero, we hold that [the statute] provides adequate notice that a person who ingests marijuana or any other drug specified and then drives a motor vehicle does so at his or her own peril. …”

Albert v. State, 511 S.E.2d 244 (1999) — Scientific proof that driver has cannabis in blood or urine is not necessary in order to prosecute for DUI. Defendant can be found guilty based upon fact that he exhibited signs of marijuana a intoxication he smelled of marijuana, had red, glassy eyes, and admitted to having smoked marijuana just before arresting officers stopped him.

Per Se Drugged Driving Laws

Georgia has a zero tolerance per se drugged driving law enacted for cannabis, cannabis metabolites, and other controlled substances. (Georgia Annotated Section 40-6-391)

Georgia’s law calls for mandatory imprisonment of 24 hours and not more than 12 months upon conviction for a first offense.

Georgia Tax Stamps

Stamp
State Code §48-15
Tax Rate $3.50/gram
Penalty for Nonpayment (Civil and Criminal ) Misdemeanor
Additional Information