Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
September 8, 2023

Georgia, also known as the Peach State, has experienced significant developments in its marijuana laws in recent years. As of now, marijuana is not fully legalized for recreational use in Georgia, but the state has established a medical marijuana program that allows for the therapeutic use of cannabis for qualifying patients.

However, recreational use remains prohibited, and possession of marijuana is still considered a crime under Georgia law. This article will delve into the intricacies of Georgia’s marijuana laws, including possession limits, penalties, the medical marijuana program, cultivation regulations, distribution laws, public consumption, DUI, criminal record expungement, and potential changes in legislation.

This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about this before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine (especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication). It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!

Georgia Weed Laws

Possession Limits

In Georgia, the possession of any amount of marijuana for recreational use is illegal. However, the state has made exceptions for medical marijuana patients who possess a limited amount of cannabis oil with a low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content. Under Georgia’s Hope Act, qualified persons with certain medical conditions can legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of cannabis oil containing no more than 5% THC.

Penalties for Possession

Simple possession of marijuana without a valid medical cannabis card is treated as a misdemeanor offense in Georgia. Possession of less than one ounce is punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail. For amounts exceeding one ounce, the penalties become more severe. Possession of one to ten ounces can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to ten years.

Intent to Distribute

Possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute or sell is considered a felony in Georgia. Penalties vary based on the amount of marijuana involved and can lead to imprisonment for several years or even decades, along with hefty fines.

Medical Marijuana Program

Program Overview

Georgia’s medical marijuana program was established with the passage of the Haleigh’s Hope Act in 2015. The program allows qualified patients suffering from severe or end-stage medical conditions to access medical cannabis with low THC levels.

Patient Eligibility

To qualify for the medical marijuana program, patients must be Georgia residents and have been diagnosed with one of the qualifying medical conditions. These conditions include epilepsy, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease, among others. Patients must also obtain a physician’s certification and register with the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Covered Medical Conditions

Georgia’s medical marijuana law covers a limited list of medical conditions. While the program provides relief for some patients, there are ongoing discussions among lawmakers to expand the list of qualifying conditions to offer more comprehensive access to medical cannabis.

Application Process

The application process for the medical marijuana program involves obtaining a physician’s certification, completing the necessary paperwork, and submitting the application to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Once approved, patients are issued a medical cannabis card, allowing them to legally possess and use cannabis oil with low THC content.

Marijuana Cultivation and Growing Laws

Personal Cultivation

Cannabis in Georgia

As of now, Georgia’s marijuana laws do not permit the personal cultivation of marijuana plants, even for medical use. Patients can only legally obtain cannabis oil from licensed dispensaries, and any attempt to cultivate marijuana at home is subject to criminal prosecution.

Penalties for Illegal Cultivation

The cultivation of marijuana without proper licensing is considered a serious offense in Georgia. The penalties for illegal cultivation can range from significant fines to lengthy imprisonment, depending on the scale of the operation.

Commercial Cultivation

Georgia has not yet legalized the commercial cultivation of marijuana for recreational use. However, discussions have been ongoing regarding the potential establishment of a regulated system for cannabis cultivation and distribution.

Marijuana Sales and Distribution

Illegal Sales and Distribution

The sale and distribution of marijuana for recreational use remain strictly prohibited in Georgia. Those caught engaging in illegal marijuana trafficking or sales can face severe criminal penalties, including imprisonment and substantial fines.

Potential Licensing or Regulation

While recreational marijuana remains illegal, some lawmakers have expressed interest in exploring the possibility of regulating and licensing marijuana dispensaries for medical cannabis patients in the future.

Public Consumption and Smoking Laws

Legal Consumption Areas

Under Georgia law, medical marijuana patients are allowed to consume cannabis oil with low THC content in private residences. However, public consumption of any form of marijuana is strictly prohibited.

Laws on Public Smoking

Smoking marijuana, whether for recreational or medical purposes, is not permitted in public places or in areas where tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Enforcement of Public Consumption Violations

Authorities enforce public consumption violations through various means, including issuing citations and imposing fines for those caught using marijuana in public spaces.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of Marijuana

DUI Laws and Limits

In Georgia, driving under the influence of marijuana is considered a crime. The state sets a legal THC limit of 5 ng/mL of blood for individuals operating a vehicle. If a driver is found to have a THC level above this limit, they can be charged with a DUI offense.

Penalties for Marijuana DUI

Penalties for a marijuana DUI can include fines, mandatory substance abuse programs, license suspension, and, in severe cases, imprisonment.

Roadside Testing and Detection Methods

Law enforcement officers use various methods to detect marijuana impairment during traffic stops, including standardized field sobriety tests and, in some cases, blood tests to measure THC levels.

Criminal Record Expungement

Eligibility for Expungement

Georgia law allows individuals with certain marijuana-related convictions to seek expungement under specific circumstances. Eligibility typicallydepends on the severity of the offense and the individual’s criminal history.

Benefits of Expungement

Expunging a marijuana-related offense from one’s criminal record can provide a clean slate, allowing individuals to have better employment prospects, housing opportunities, and other benefits associated with a clear criminal history.


Georgia’s approach to marijuana laws has evolved significantly in recent years, with the establishment of a medical marijuana program offering some relief to qualified patients. However, recreational use and possession of marijuana for non-medical purposes remain illegal. The state’s strict stance on marijuana prohibition necessitates vigilance and awareness of the current laws and any potential changes that may occur in the future. As Georgia lawmakers continue to deliberate on marijuana legalization and access, it is essential for individuals to stay informed to ensure compliance with the state’s cannabis regulations.