How Do Changing Marijuana Laws Affect Me?


Marijuana laws are changing rapidly across the country. Possession of the drug may be illegal in your state, but a short drive across state lines could mean that sale and use is now completely permissible.

Marijuana laws in the US are currently in a volatile flux. The federal government is finding it difficult to maintain strict laws against the drug, while states continue to legalize its use for both medicinal and recreational purposes. How do these changes affect residents in Georgia?

As all Georgia residents know, our state takes a particularly conservative stance when it comes to punishing marijuana offenders. Our state has taken a constructive about-face in the last legislative year though, allowing medical marijuana prescriptions for certain illnesses.

Dubbed House Bill 1, Governor Nathan Deal signed the law into order in April 2015, effectively granting patients suffering from cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and five other specific conditions to apply for up to 20 ounces of medical cannabis oil with a valid physician authorization.

The law makes it easier for thousands of families in Georgia to access the medications they need to live a comfortable life, while there are specific provisions that may be difficult to enforce. For example, cannabis oil cannot exceed 5% THC content, cultivation in Georgia is not allowed, and there is yet to be a dedicated system for patients and doctors to contact suppliers.

As a result of these tricky provisions, there are two big takeaways: (1) patients that use medical marijuana will have difficulty travelling to other states to obtain the medication, and (2) residents that are qualify for marijuana use under House Bill 1 might still be arrested by law enforcement.

  • Because we noted earlier that Georgia still doesn’t allow cannabis production, it is extremely difficult for patients to receive the actual medication. Driving to a state like Colorado would require passing through states like Alabama or Tennessee, which do not have medical marijuana laws. Even if you have a valid prescription, being caught with the drug in another state could result in immediate drug charges. Means to ship, transport, or deliver the medication into Georgia is proving difficult as patients are unable to access cannabis oil without breaking other contradicting laws. Call a criminal defense attorney immediately to fight charges that upend your legitimate right to possess cannabis oil.

  • Another concern is that law enforcement may have trouble enforcing marijuana laws with the addition of the new bill. For example, if you are seeking a cannabis prescription for your child, then it is likely that your son or daughter’s name will be on the prescription label. While it is completely logical for you, the parent, to be in possession of the medication, law enforcement may arrest you for possessing the bottle.Similarly, House Bill 1 also allows for laboratory and clinical trials of marijuana to take place in Georgia. But the law is unspecific about how the supervisors of these trials can transport, administer, and obtain the marijuana in the first place. If you are in possession of medical marijuana for a legal reason, but run into problems with law enforcement, then a criminal defense attorney is the best option to restore your freedom.

All in all, this shift in how Georgia deals with medical marijuana is a move in the right direction, but at the same time, there is plenty of room for the law to be misapplied. There is the distinct possibility that sick patients could still be charged as drug offenders.

If you are arrested for a discrepancy in your legal use and possession of medical marijuana, then you need a criminal defense attorney to absolve your charges and help get your life back on pace.