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Marijuana possession is still a serious crime in Georgia

Cultural attitudes toward marijuana have shifted drastically in the last decade. While federal law still prohibits possession, cultivation or sale of this plant, many states have taken steps to legalize its use. Some states have laws that permit adult recreational use, while others have legalized marijuana for medical purposes only. Georgia simply isn't one of those states.

While the state has enacted a CBD-only medical marijuana law, there isn't any infrastructure to allow for legal purchase or use of high-CBD and low-THC strains of marijuana in Georgia. Even people who could qualify for medical use under the state law could find themselves facing criminal prosecution for buying or possessing marijuana if the THC levels in it are too high.

Some forms of simple possession could result in felony charges

While some states take a more lenient approach to minor possession charges, Georgia takes all marijuana offenses seriously. While people who live in Atlanta may benefit from the recent law decriminalizing possession, most everyone else in the state could face very harsh penalties.

Possession of natural-state marijuana is a misdemeanor in Georgia, if you get caught with one ounce or less. The potential penalties for that offense could be up to a year in jail and a fine of as much as $1,000. For those charged with possession of more than one ounce, the charge becomes a felony. There is a mandatory minimum of a year in jail, with the potential for a sentence of as long as 10 years. The maximum fine also increases to $5,000.

For those who get caught with marijuana concentrates or extracts, like hash oil or pressed hash, the lowest possible charge is a felony. Possession of any amount under a gram in weight or a ml in volume is a felony that carries between one and three years in jail and fine of up to $3,000. Possession of between one and four grams or ml increases the maximum jail sentence to eight years.

There are other consequences to marijuana charges as well

Even if you manage to avoid jail time with a plea deal or due to being a first time, non-violent offender, those marijuana charges could haunt you for years to come. If you hope to go to college, you may have trouble getting admitted with a criminal record. Worse yet, a drug offense prevents you from receiving any amount of federal student aid.

As if that weren't bad enough, you could also struggle to find a good job or secure rental housing. Many employers and landlords will automatically decline anyone with a felony on their record. Considering all the ways a marijuana offense can impact your life and your future, it is not a matter to treat lightly.

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