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Bill to End Incarceration for Low-Level Cannabis Crimes Introduced in Georgia

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Currently, even low-level cannabis possession is still punishable with jail time in Georgia. However, a new bill circulating in the Georgia General Assembly aims to change that and give more leeway to those caught in possession with small amounts.

According to WFXL, if this bill becomes law it would fine those with less than two ounces $300 instead of giving jail time.

Gregory Edwards, district attorney for the Dougherty Judicial Circuit, talked about how this is becoming common across the nation. “We’ve seen nationwide a trend toward the decriminalization of marijuana,” said Edwards. “They’re basically intending to decriminalize the use and possession of marijuana.”

The bill could also have an impact on those who are already in jail for possessing only a small amount of cannabis, which is one thing that makes advocates excited. “I would anticipate that our department of pardon and parole will look at those issues, in relating to those folks who have been convicted, only for that,” said Edwards. “That would be something that is considered in terms of potentially granting parole. A jury can engage in what is called jury nullification. So, if a case is brought forward and the jury feels like what this person has been charged with is now legal, a jury could, in fact, nullify by a verdict of not guilty if the matter had to go to trial.”

Selling and distributing cannabis would still be punishable with jail time under this law, as would possessing having very large amounts of cannabis.

Researchers in Georgia have begun to study cannabis and chronic pain and medical patients finally have access to cannabis oil. Many predict that even if this bill doesn’t pass, cannabis will still be decriminalized in Georgia.

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