Lawmakers ponder change to marijuana possession rules

Medical marijuana has been legal in Georgia for some time, but patients have probably noticed the infrastructure is not in place to purchase marijuana legally. This frustrating situation leads some residents to purchase marijuana from the black market. Even if a person has qualified for medical marijuana and only purchases a small amount for personal use, he or she can still face criminal charges for marijuana possession. 

State lawmakers are now drafting legislation that would help people in this situation avoid criminal charges. Research has shown that legalizing the personal possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use could help prevent gang or drug cartel activity in local communities. Buying marijuana from such sources can put a buyer in harm's way if the buyer is dealing with a party that also sells other deadly drugs or is prone to violence. 

Supporters of the change reason that legalizing marijuana possession in small amounts will reduce crime and encourage marijuana users to acquire the substance from a source that is not tied to illegal activity. The proposal calls for the establishment of legitimate dispensaries. The state could use the taxes from legal marijuana sales to fund pension plans for local heroes like emergency responders. 

Marijuana users in Georgia hope to see the changes passed into law in the near future, but for now, patients and recreational users are still in legal danger. If a person is convicted of marijuana possession, it could affect his or her employment and reputation, and the fines and penalties can be hefty. A person facing such a charge may want to consult an experienced attorney. An attorney can help a client prepare a solid defense in court with an eye on achieving the best outcome possible. 

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