Chatham County DA Relaxes on Criminal Cannabis Charges
Chatham County Georgia is home to the coastal city of Savannah, a beautiful city neighboring the State of South Carolina, and their residents are facing a new cannabis policy.
Georgia’s approach to cannabis has been limited and restrictive at best, with a failed medical marijuana program and no recreational cannabis, though some lawmakers are taking the opposite approach and looking to soften up on marijuana related charges.
Chatham County’s District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones has announced that they will no longer be prosecuting cannabis possession cases dealing with less than one ounce.
Chatham County’s DA is taking a more open and compassionate approach towards cannabis, compared to the rest of Georgia, with the belief that law enforcement’s time should be spent on dealing with more pressing problems.
Chatham County No Longer Prosecuting Low-Level Marijuana Crime
Georgia Is 50/50 on Cannabis Crime
Georgia’s medical marijuana program has struggled to get out of the gutter of legislative sludge for the last 7 years, and recreational cannabis certainly isn’t on the minds of most lawmakers in the Peach State.
Though several jurisdictions and cities have enacted types of decriminalization, other counties and cities have done the exact opposite, looking to vilify cannabis in any capacity.
Athens-Clarke, Augusta-Richmond, Cobb, Dekalb, and Gwinnet counties have all enacted decriminalization of some kind, making the pursuit of low-level marijuana infractions either a written offense or a small fine.
Other places in Georgia like Dahlonega and Alpharetta have taken the opposite approach with cannabis, making it difficult for both medical marijuana companies and legal hemp companies.
Georgia is not a split-state when it comes to marijuana though, and if legislation is any indication of how Georgia will approach cannabis convictions, the state may stay restrictive on marijuana policy for a while.
Some officials are brash enough to pursue cannabis convictions of any kind, regardless of how harmful they are to citizens and youth. Such is the case with Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher, who has stated his department would continue arresting people for possessing any amount of cannabis.
There are some encouraging policies that are leaning into cannabis, though, and Chatham County’s District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones aims to move the needle forward and end low-level cannabis convictions, regardless of how the County Sheriff feels.
Less Than 1 Ounce of Cannabis Is a Waste of Time for Prosecutors
The DA’s approach is for law enforcement to no longer bother with low-level petty marijuana offenses that don’t threaten public safety or involve a victim.
For cases concerning less than one ounce of cannabis, Chatham County isn’t prepared to prosecute, in fact, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said that it won’t even test any cannabis unless it weighs more than an ounce.
Without a verifiable test, the State can’t prove that any laws were violated, and any cases involving less than an ounce will be left alone effective immediately.
Chatham County’s approach doesn’t bend for everyone, though, and cases involving more than one ounce of cannabis, possession around children or in school zones, and infractions involving impaired driving will still be prosecuted.
As a matter of public and law enforcement resources, it makes sense that petty marijuana offenses without a victim should be off the radar and attention should shift to crimes that are of actual concern.
How Georgia is Prepping for the Inevitable – Cannabis Legalization
Shy & Confused Lawmakers Struggle to Enact Common-Sense Legislation
Georgia’s setbacks with its medical marijuana program have served as a prime example of how uninterested lawmakers have been with marijuana in general.
After nearly a decade of delays and problems associated with the medical marijuana program offered in the Peach State, there are still no cultivators, dispensaries, or medical marijuana products available for patients.
Even worse, while the State is being held accountable with lawsuits over the State-appointed cannabis commission, local officials are scrambling to figure out how to vilify even legal hemp-businesses in some places in Georgia.
Georgia’s fight for cannabis is on the wrong side of history, and there aren’t any good indications that lawmakers will change their position, until they see votes, of course.
Georgia’s Slow Approach Takes a Backseat to Federal Legalization
All States are essentially waiting on the federal government to set the gold standard on cannabis, though if history is any indicator, it’ll be an uphill battle for Uncle Sam to let go of his marijuana monopoly.
Feelings are changing slowly in Washington though, where legislators are looking to introduce cannabis legalization of some kind, though with a timeline set by the federal government, no one knows how long it will take to pass, or how long it will take to become law.
States who have already legalized cannabis in some capacity will also need to change their laws to ensure they are in line with federal laws, making patients the only people who are feeling the consequences of their legislators waiting to get things done.
In Georgia, legalization isn’t on the horizon for any time in the near future, and the medical marijuana program doesn’t seem to be a high priority for lawmakers as it stands.
We hope that this changes soon, and that Georgia picks up the pieces of its crumbling marijuana policies, and that people like Chatham County’s DA Jones will continue in their efforts to move the needle forward in the fight for cannabis rights.
Get Your Georgia Marijuana Card
The Georgia medical marijuana program is currently stalled, and until legislators install cultivators who are approved to produce cannabis products, there aren’t any cannabis products available for medical marijuana patients.
One Georgia’s program comes online, we’ll begin processing applications for the low-THC registry, and you’ll be able to get your medical marijuana card in Georgia!
You can pre-register for your appointment today by reserving your spot online!
We will be processing medical marijuana certifications as soon as the system is live for Georgia patients.
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Feel free to give us a call at (866) 781-5606, and we can help answer your questions about getting medical marijuana in Georgia