The legalization of medical marijuana for select eligible patients has possibly led to some confusion regarding Georgia state law. Although permitted for limited medical purposes, marijuana possession is still a crime and can lead to arrest. Depending on a number of factors, possession charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies.
When a person is arrested for possession of marijuana, the amount of marijuana that he or she is accused of possessing is a key factor. A person who was arrested for less than 1 ounce of marijuana will potentially face less severe criminal consequences than someone who was found with more. Possession charges for a single ounce or less are misdemeanors. Although misdemeanors are generally less serious than felonies, a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge can lead to a $1,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail.
Felony charges will usually apply when 1 ounce to 10 pounds of marijuana are involved. Although a person who is convicted for felony marijuana possession could also spend a year in jail, he or she could also be sentenced to as long as 10 years. If found with anything more than 10 pounds, police will typically make an arrest for drug trafficking rather than possession.
Whether facing a misdemeanor or a felony, defendants in Georgia must take their situations seriously. Convictions for marijuana possession can easily land defendants behind bars for lengthy periods of time, which will also affect their personal lives and may make it harder to find employment in the future. There is no such thing as it being too soon to work on a criminal defense, and doing so in as timely a manner as possible is generally advisable.