Can a Medical Marijuana Card Protect You in a State Where the Drug is Not Legal?
Laws regarding the use of marijuana are complex, and even with a medical card, you could still face drug charges in Gwinnett County.
As more becomes known about the medicinal uses of marijuana, the legal landscape is changing accordingly. Numerous states now allow it to be used by people suffering certain health conditions, while a handful have even legalized it for recreational use. In Georgia, the laws are far more limited and still take a relatively tough stance. Just because you have a medical marijuana card, it will not necessarily protect you against potentially serious criminal drug charges.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Georgia
The definition of medical marijuana varies from state to state. In some places, it may include the entire plant. In others, it refers to oils and other extracts. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemicals within the plant. Two have been shown to have some medical uses. Research has shown that cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may help to fight inflammation, decrease the effects of pain, calm the nervous system, and stimulate appetite. They are often used in treatment for the following types of conditions:
- Anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and other mood disorders;
- Epilepsy and other seizure disorders;
- Certain types of cancer;
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) and other immune system disorders.
THC is the substance that is associated with the ‘high’ marijuana users experience. Some CBD oils carry less than 3% THC and can be sold over the counter. Under Georgia Department of Public Health guidelines, people with certain medical conditions may obtain a medical marijuana card entitling them to have up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil, provided it does not contain more than 5% THC. You can obtain a low THC oil card through your doctor and the oils through authorized dispensaries. Marijuana is still illegal in Georgia for other users. Having a medical marijuana card from another state will not protect you against criminal charges.
Traveling to and From Other Areas
If you plan on traveling to other areas, it is important to review that state’s marijuana laws before you go. Marijuana is still categorized as a controlled substance by the federal government, but each state has the freedom to make its own laws.
According to the National Council of State Legislators (NCSL), most of the states surrounding Georgia have similar types of restrictive marijuana laws. However, Florida and places along both the East and West Coast are more permissive. If you travel to an area that has a reciprocity agreement to honor cards from other states, you will still be limited to low THC oil. Unless you are in an area that allows recreational use, having any other type of marijuana in your possession could result in criminal drug charges.
Get Our Norcross, GA Criminal Defense Attorneys on Your Side
At Zimmerman & Associates, we provide the aggressive legal defense you need when facing drug charges in Georgia. To get our team fighting on your side, contact our Gwinnett County criminal defense attorneys to schedule a free consultation today.