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The Legal Status of Cannabis in Georgia

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Cannabis is illegal for recreational use in Georgia. However, high-CBD and low THC cannabis are legal for medical purposes. Legislation is pending for the legalization of possessing, using, and retailing cannabis for adult use in Georgia.

SB 263 is seeking to regulate the state’s commercial marijuana market. This measure would enable to purchase of up to one-quarter of an ounce of marijuana from a licensed retailer legally.

SR 165 and HR 281 seek to amend the constitution of the state to legalize the possession, use, and retail selling of marijuana for adults of 21years and over. If passed by lawmakers, this measure would then place a question to Georgia voters on the ballot. These measures also seek to expunge certain marijuana convictions meted out in the past.

Some cities in Georgia have put in place some cannabis measures. In October 2017, the Atlanta City Council took a vote of 15–0 to lessen the penalty for possessing up to an ounce (28 g) of marijuana to a fine of $75. Savannah City Council swiftly followed in March 2018 by voting to reduce the penalty in an 8-1 vote to a fine of $150 fine. Other jurisdictions which have acted to reduce, or have decriminalized minor cannabis offenses are Clarkston (2016), Forest Park (2018), South Fulton (2018), Statesboro (2018), Kingsland (2018), Chamblee (2019), Macon-Bibb County (2019), and Tybee Island (2021).

Medical Cannabis in Georgia

Georgia’s house passed a measure to permit medical cannabis oil of up to 5% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in February 2015, which became law on April 16, 2015. The Haleigh’s Hope Act, HB1, legalized low-THC, rich CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis oil for medical use. This bill faced little resistance and took effect immediately after it was signed by the then Governor Nathan Deal. This bill allowed possessing CBD oil for treatment of a listed eight qualifying conditions. It however did not cover the cultivation or distribution of cannabis within the state. In May 2017, the law was expanded to include 16 six more medical conditions.  Though the state of Georgia took a long time to legalize medical cannabis, medical cannabis research on cannabis had started as far back as the 1970s.

House Bill 324 was finally approved in April 2019 to allow for the in-state cultivation of cannabis and the sale of low-THC oil. The medical conditions that qualify for legal THC oil in Georgia include:

  • End-stage cancer
  • Seizure disorders such as epilepsy
  • ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (either severe or at the end stage)
  • Sickle cell disease (either severe or at the end stage)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Mitochondrial disease
  • AIDS
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • (PTSD) Post-traumatic stress disorder

One might also qualify to get a medical marijuana card for chronic pain or if they are under hospice care.

Georgia has a long way to go before cannabis can be fully legal. Legislators seem be sitting on the fence as they wait to see if the federal government will budge. Its not clear which will happen first, federal legalization or Georgia legalization.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.