As of 2023, Georgia has a legal medical marijuana program. The first dispensary offering retail sales of qualifying products opened in Atlanta in the first half of the year. Doctors can recommend low-THC cannabis extracts to individuals with qualifying medical conditions.
In Georgia, the law allows those with cancer, seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, sickle cell disease, Crohn’s disease, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, intractable pain, Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorder. Those with an appropriate medical condition and a doctor’s recommendation can now purchase low-THC cannabis oils at licensed dispensaries.
In many states, a medical marijuana program is often the first step toward legalization. Some people can even use the law as a defense against criminal charges related to marijuana. Could someone accused of marijuana possession in Georgia mount a defense by claiming their use is medical?
Natural-state marijuana has no legal protection
Individuals who regularly use marijuana often consume it in its natural state by smoking it. Anyone caught with smokable marijuana will not be able to claim their use was medicinal. The law in Georgia only recognizes low-THC marijuana products as medicinal. Even then, qualifying patients can only possess up to 20 ounces of such oils at any given time.
Those who have marijuana extracts in their possession will often also be ineligible for a defense based on medical need if they have too much or the oil has a standard level of THC. The establishment of the program did not legalize extracts with high levels of THC, and it requires someone’s registration with the state to avoid prosecution for possession of low-THC oils.
Understanding Georgia’s marijuana laws can help people prepare a defense when accused of possession. Seeking legal guidance remains important in the wake of an arrest of any kind as well.