Easing cultural attitudes about marijuana is evident in our society. In state after state, voters keep passing laws intended to end the prohibition of marijuana and create regulated markets. Support for marijuana legalization is high and continuing to increase. However, Georgia is well behind much of the rest of the country when it comes to marijuana.
While you may not think that marijuana offenses really matter any more, they still do. Neither the police nor the courts will brush off a marijuana offense just because people are more accepting of it now than they were a few years ago. There are actually very serious potential penalties for marijuana possession in Georgia.
Even possession can carry serious penalties
You may find yourself thinking that you're safe because you only smoke marijuana. You don't grow it or sell it, so you won't face serious consequences, right? The truth is that possession charges could be a serious offense depending on several factors.
Those caught in possession of one ounce or less will face misdemeanor charges that carry up to a year in prison and fine of $1,000. For those caught with more than one ounce, the fine goes up to $5,000. The felony charge that results will also have a mandatory minimum of one year in jail, but could result in as many as 10 years in jail.
Popular hash oils and concentrates can mean major criminal charges
Butane hash oil and similar marijuana concentrates have been popular in recent years. They allow people to vaporize, instead of smoke, their marijuana. Concentrates can also have a more powerful affect than natural-state marijuana. As a result, the state of Georgia considers all offenses related to hash and marijuana concentrates to be felonies.
Possession of less than 1 gram of solid concentrate or less and 1 ml of a liquid concentrate could mean between one and three years in jail, as well as a fine of up to $45,000. Possession of between 1 gram and 4 grams of a solid or between 1 and 4 ml of a liquid could mean between one and eight years in jail. Anyone accused of manufacturing, selling, distributing or possession concentrates with an intent to distribute will face a five year mandatory minimum that goes up to as many as 30 years in jail.
Defend yourself against potential marijuana charges
A drug conviction can change the course of your entire future. You may lose your job or have a difficult time finding a new one. You will not qualify for any federal student aid for college or graduate studies. You will have to deal with the stigma that a criminal record can bring, in addition to paying a fine and potentially ending up in jail. Defending yourself against these kinds of charges is often a wise decision, depending on your circumstances.