Felony Possession of Marijuana in Georgia

  •   None

Marijuana is a drug that has been the forefront of public discussion in recent years. With
President Biden making headlines for pardoning thousands convicted on federal marijuana
charges, as well as varying and constantly shifting degrees of legality from one state to
another, it is more important than ever for residents of Georgia to understand how their
home state confronts the issue of marijuana possession. (Note: this article specifically deals
with possession of marijuana flower. Georgia law makes a distinction between flower and
other substances containing THC derived from the marijuana plant, such as edibles, liquids,
oils, and vapes)


In Georgia, one can be charged with felony possession of marijuana if they have in their
possession greater than one ounce of the substance in question. Any amount less than
that, according to O.C.G.A. §16-13-2(b), will be a misdemeanor punishable by fines not to
exceed $1000.00 and/or imprisonment not to exceed one year. A felony charge carries a
much stiffer sentence, however. Being charged with felony possession of marijuana in
Georgia is punishable by a prison term not less than one (1) year in
duration, and not to exceed 10 years. Additionally, drug possession cases in Georgia
typically result in mandatory suspension of one’s driver’s license.


When dealing with these charges, the State must prove that the accused was actually in
possession of the substance in question. There are two types of possession that can be
argued by the State:

(1) Actual possession – this occurs when the substance is found on your person, such
as in a pocket, backpack, handbag, etc.
(2) Constructive possession – this is when the substance is found nearby, in an area you
can reasonably assume to have dominion over, such as the glove compartment in a

While these types of possession are functionally the same in the eyes of the law,
constructive possession requires the State to prove that you were in a position with both the
power and intention to exercise control over the substance.

Additionally, the State must prove that the drug is what they claim it to be, and the
amount in question matches the charges being filed. In Georgia, testing these factors
usually happens through GCIC, the Georgia Crime Information Center. Without official
testing of the substance, it is much more difficult for the State to prove you were actually in
possession of whatever substance you are being charged with possessing.


There are a number of viable defenses in Georgia for someone charged with felony
possession of marijuana. Some of the typical defenses are as follows:

(1) Unwitting Possession – this is applicable if you were unaware that you are in
possession of the substance in question. For example, a package for a house two
blocks over is incorrectly delivered to your doorstep. You drive the package to its
intended recipient, and in the process, you run a stop sign and are pulled over. The
officer searches your car and finds marijuana in the package. Your lawyer can use
this to prove you never intended to possess the marijuana.

(2) Lack of Possession – this defense is applicable if the State intends to charge you
with constructive possession. Your lawyer can argue that proximity to the drug alone
does not satisfy the requirements for constructive possession. For example, if you
are at a friend’s house for a party, and the cops arrest you near a hidden stash of
marijuana, they may have difficulty proving constructive possession, as proximity
alone does not satisfy the requirements for the charge.

(3) Illegal Search and Seizure – If marijuana is discovered on your person during a
search by police, an experienced attorney can investigate whether the police officers
had a constitutional basis for performing the stop and search. If the search is found
to be unconstitutional, then as a result, everything discovered as a result of the
search is inadmissible in court. As a result, your case can be thrown out due to lack
of evidence.


If you have been charged with possession of marijuana or any other controlled substance,
and need the best local criminal defense attorney, give Bixon Law a call today to speak to
one of our experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyers. We will vigorously defend your
criminal defense rights, and advocate on your behalf to have your criminal case dismissed
or your charges reduced. As experienced trial attorneys, we are not afraid to take your case
to trial if necessary. We represent clients in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. We
are lawyers who are committed to helping people in difficult situations, and we invite you to
call us at (404) 551-5684 for a free consultation on your case today.