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It Might not Seem Like it, but Marijuana Possession or Use can Still be a Crime

  • Reading the newspaper or watching cable or network news shows could lead you to believe that marijuana is now legal pretty much everywhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. While many states have “legalized” marijuana in some form or another, there are still limits and restrictions on what “legalized” actually means. Sure, 29 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that allow some legal use of marijuana, including medical uses. And seven states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that claim to have legalized marijuana for recreational as well as for medicinal use.

    Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean possession or use of marijuana is legal. Federal laws against marijuana possession remain in place nationwide, and state laws against driving under the influence of marijuana remain in place. Further, in the vast majority of states, including Georgia, all laws making marijuana use, possession or sales, remain in full effect, in addition to the federal laws. Atlanta recently decriminalized marijuana possession, but you had better hope you only get arrested inside Atlanta city limits by an Atlanta police officer. State and federal laws still apply, even in Atlanta.

    Believing that that possession or use of marijuana is legal pretty much everywhere is a good way to wind up in jail. Only seven states plus the District of Columbia have removed most marijuana laws from the books – that means 42 states haven’t. And in all states, Georgia included, dealing, distribution, and trafficking in marijuana remains illegal. It is important to understand Georgia drug laws and, if you run outside of those laws, to obtain legal representation.

    There can be Serious Consequences for Marijuana Possession in Georgia

    The media image of the seriousness of marijuana possession and Georgia law could not be more dramatically different. Even for simple possession of one ounce or less, the misdemeanor charge can carry a penalty of a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. For possession of more than an ounce, the charge is a felony that can put you in prison for 1 to 10 years, with a fine of up to $10,000.

    Like other states, the penalties for distribution, trafficking, and other drug crimes that go beyond simple possession escalate dramatically. No state is decriminalizing those activities. And given the relatively low level at which Georgia residents can be charged with felony possession, it seems prudent to, first of all, never possess enough marijuana to face felony possession charges, but, even more prudently, to simply avoid possession of marijuana. Georgia is not Colorado, and possession of marijuana in Georgia remains a crime that can bring serious consequences down upon you.

    If You Have Been Charged With Marijuana Crimes in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area, Contact the Criminal Law Attorneys of Mitnick and Associates

    If you have been arrested for marijuana possession in the Atlanta Metro area, including Alpharetta, Roswell, Cumming, Johns Creek, and Milton, you should consult a criminal defense attorney to explore your options. The attorneys at Mitnick and Associates can help. You can reach us at (770) 408-7000 or through our online contact form.