Don’t misunderstand Georgia’s new medical marijuana measure

Georgia’s governor signed a measure allowing the use of medical cannabis oil. Residents should not confuse this law for allowing all use of the drug.

The legalization of marijuana has been a subject of debate in many states over the past few years. Some states have already passed laws allowing medicinal and/or recreational use of cannabis, while in others the use of marijuana remains illegal. Georgia is one of the states that has seen the issue brought up frequently. Many people continue to fight for the right to legally smoke the drug, stating that it is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Others are strong proponents of using marijuana or cannabis oil to treat pain and other symptoms due to medical conditions. Despite some progress, the use of marijuana in Georgia can still result in serious drug charges.

According to Reuters, Georgia's governor recently approved a measure that legalized the use of a certain type of cannabis oil for medicinal purposes, effective immediately. This oil is a special strain containing a low percentage of the high-producing chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Georgia has become the 12th state to approve the use of this type of cannabis oil. Georgia residents who wish to use the oil must be able to pass a screening process that shows they have a medical need for the substance.

Might there be confusion regarding the legalization of cannabis oil?

Marijuana supporters should not confuse this measure with the legalization of recreational marijuana or smoking it for medicinal purposes without a permit. There are still strict laws surrounding marijuana use in Georgia. For example, it remains illegal to grow the plant in this state. Those who are eligible for cannabis oil will need to obtain it from pharmaceutical companies that are allowed to ship the oil into the state. Federal and state laws also prohibit residents from obtaining marijuana in states where it is legal and transporting it across state lines.

There may be a potential for confusion if people assume that marijuana is now legal in Georgia without knowing the full rules and regulations. For example, some may think that they can drive after smoking marijuana or having cannabis oil in their system. The National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that driving under the influence of marijuana can impair a person's reaction time, coordination and judgment. People who have marijuana, whether they are driving or not, may still face serious consequences for possession.

Georgia's drug possession laws

According to the marijuana reform group NORML, the penalties for drug possession in Georgia are severe. Possessing less than one ounce of marijuana can result in a misdemeanor charge. Having more than one ounce of marijuana or the cultivation and sale of the drug are felony charges. Penalties may include:

  • Misdemeanor penalties of up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine
  • Felony penalties of up to 10 years in prison
  • Longer prison sentences and tens of thousands of dollars in fines for more serious felonies, such as selling or cultivating marijuana near a school or park

Criminal charges for misunderstanding a law can have lifelong consequences. Those who are accused of possessing marijuana illegally should consult with a criminal defense attorney to protect their rights.

Keywords: drug crimes, charges, marijuana, penalties