Under current Georgia law, a person accused of having marijuana on his or her person can face stiff penalties if convicted, such as hefty fines, probation or even jail time, even if a person is caught with less than an ounce of marijuana. Proponents of a new bill think these penalties are unfair to those convicted of marijuana possession. Though some members of law enforcement agencies have spoken out against the legislative proposal, many Georgia residents support these changes.
The new bill, which was recently presented to the Georgia Senate, would not legalize the use of recreational marijuana, but would change the penalties that a person convicted might face. Especially for first-time offenses, this is good news. If the bill is enacted into law, offenders will merely be fined if they are found to be in possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana. Some Georgia municipalities already have similar laws in place on a local level.
Having different laws in some parts of the state can result in confusion for those accused of marijuana possession. What is legal in one city may be treated as a serious crime in another. The new bill, if passed into law, will benefit persons accused of such a crime. Currently, marijuana possession can be treated as a felony charge, but the bill aims to reduce it to a misdemeanor.
A Georgia resident may worry that being accused or convicted of marijuana possession will be a mark on his or her criminal record forever. A person accused may do well to contact a knowledgeable attorney, who is likely to be up to date on the latest law changes. A person accused has the opportunity to present a defense in court, and the right attorney can make all the difference.