Will GA be Affected by Congress Vote on Marijuana?
While federal lawmakers seek to decriminalize marijuana, it would still be up to individual states to pass their own laws making it legal.
Marijuana reform laws are sweeping the nation, but the country continues to be a patchwork concerning where the drug is or is not allowed. While the state of Georgia has relaxed its attitude toward it in recent years, you can still face potentially serious penalties for marijuana possession or distribution. In the coming months, Congress is expected to turn its attention to legislation that would decriminalize pot, removing it from the list of controlled substances. While this will have broad implications for the country at large, it will still be up to individual states to decide whether to make marijuana legal.
Marijuana Reform Gaining Traction Throughout the Country
Medical research continues to reveal the potential benefits of marijuana use in treating a wide range of health conditions. According to Business Insider, marijuana is now legal for medicinal use in 33 states while 11 states allow it for recreational purposes by people over the age of 21. Under federal guidelines, marijuana is still considered illegal, but this could change based on legislation Congress is currently considering.
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act was introduced by Kamala Harris in 2019. It aims to decriminalize marijuana by removing it from the list of federal controlled substances. It also encourages expunging most marijuana convictions on a state level. It is part of broader reforms aimed at making the criminal justice system fairer for people of color. Advocates claim that minorities in particular are adversely affected by the currently heavy fines and potential jail sentences that can result from a conviction on even minor amounts of the drug.
While some Congressional leaders hope to pass the MORE Act by as early as next month, it is likely to only be a small step. States would still have the option of passing their own laws in regard to marijuana usage and could still impose potentially severe penalties.
Marijuana Laws in Georgia
Georgia is one of a handful of states that still takes a strong stance against marijuana usage. Certain types of CBD oils are now legal, but marijuana itself is not permitted for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Marijuana is still regulated under the Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana penalties in Georgia include:
- Possession of less than an ounce: Fines up to $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail.
- Possession of more than an ounce: Up to 10 years in prison.
- Distribution of marijuana: Up to 30 years in prison.
Facing Criminal Charges for Marijuana? Contact Our Gwinnett County Drug Crimes Attorneys
Marijuana charges are a serious matter in Georgia. To protect yourself against a criminal conviction, get Zimmerman & Associates on your side. Call or contact our Norcross drug crime attorneys online to request a consultation today.