Georgia’s Weed Laws: What’s Legal and What’s Not


In the recent past, marijuana laws have begun to enter a grey area in regards to legality. While it is still illegal Federally, many states have either relaxed or completely legalized marijuana use. Here is where Georgia stands:

  1. Medical Marijuana: Georgia’s stance on medical marijuana use is limited. Qualified patients with specific conditions like those suffering from severe seizures, certain forms of cancer, and terminal illness may possess cannabis oil with no more than 5% THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) if they have a valid registration card.
  2. Recreational Use: Recreational marijuana is still illegal in the state of Georgia.
  3. Cultivation and Distribution: cultivation, sale, and distribution of marijuana is all illegal for not only recreational purposes but also for medical purposes.
  4. CBD Products: CBD derived from hemp is actually legal at the federal level, and CBD products with very low THC content (less than 0.3%) are legal.
  5. Delta 8, etc: Delta-8 and Delta-9 are popular cannabinoids that do not contain THC, although many users report quasi-high effects similar to marijuana. As of now, these cannabinoids and their derivatives are legal under Georgia law.
  6. Penalties: Penalties for possession of marijuana vary based on the amount in possession as well as whether it is a first offense. Marijuana more than an ounce is considered a felony, whereas anything less than an ounce is a misdemeanor. Because of the variance, penalties can range from a simple citation to jail time and hefty fines.

If you’ve been arrested or cited for possession of marijuana, give our office a call TODAY.

Arrest for Trafficking at Hartsfield Jackson Airport

If you or a loved one is arrested for Trafficking in Clayton County at the Atlanta airport, it is important that you act immediately to protect yourself. Do not wait until your court date to get an attorney and to preserve evidence.

The Clayton County District Attorney has a dedicated division to prosecute cases involving Trafficking case. They will vigorously prosecute you if you are transport drugs through the airport.
Do not think that just because you are innocent that the charges will be dismissed. Drug charges are aggressively prosecuted in Clayton County.

Make sure your attorney has had felony jury trials and has won these cases. Do not let an attorney handle your case who does not specifically handle drug cases. Many drug cases are won at a motions hearing. It is imperative that you get body cams, dash cams, search warrants and take witness statements of anyone involved in the search and seizure of the drugs.

The law may say you are presumed innocent but in drug cases, you have to prove your innocence.

Here is what you should do if arrested for Trafficking at the airport in Clayton County.
1. Hire an attorney – Make sure that attorney actually handles and tries drug cases in Clayton County. Most criminal defense attorneys do not handle these cases. Make sure the attorney you talk to does regularly handles drug cases in Georgia
2. Avoid making any statements – Do not proclaim your innocence to the police at the airport. The police will not believe you. Do not think you can show up at your first court date and tell the prosecutor and judge that you are innocent and expect the charges to be dropped. If you are arrested for trafficking, you have to start preparing for your jury trial. Do not make any statements to anyone except your lawyer.
3. Start gathering important evidence
a. Gather and preserve any physical evidence in your possession.
b. Gather and preserve any documents that might relate to this accusation including emails, texts, social media, phone records, GPS records, computer records or any other document that might show where you were when this incident allegedly occurred.
c. Witnesses – Immediately make a list of any person who you think might have information about this accusation. Do not discuss the case with this person but pass this list of potential witnesses to your attorney and let your attorney contact them.
Here is what you should never do if arrested for trafficking at the airport in Clayton County.
1. Never talk to law enforcement or the Clayton County District Attorney’s office without an attorney.

If you are arrested for trafficking at the airport in cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine or any other illegal drug in Clayton County, please call our office 24/7 at 404-581-0999. We will sit down with you and fully discuss your case and what to expect in court. There is no charge for the initial consultation. You will only retain us if you feel we are the best law firm to represent you. It is your case and your life so you need to hire the lawyer that you feel gives you the best chance to win.

Conditional Discharge or Drug First Offender

Conditional Discharge or Drug First Offender is a once in a lifetime opportunity that allows someone who has been charged for the first time with possessing drugs or a non-violent property crime related to drug or alcohol addiction to resolve their case without a felony conviction. The resolution will typically involve probation and some sort of rehabilitation and treatment. Once the terms of the sentence are completed successfully the case will be dismissed and will not be considered a conviction. Conditional discharge may still be available even if you have previously used first offender. Drug offenses can have significant collateral consequences. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug offense, it is very important you speak with an experience attorney. Please give us a call at 404-581-0998 for a free case consultation.

Trafficking at Airport

Trafficking marijuana or cocaine at the Atlanta airport is a serious offense.  Our law firm has successfully handled hundreds of these cases in Clayton County.  The first step in successfully handling these cases is knowing the law.

Let’s take a hypothetical situation that we see often in our drug trafficking cases from the Atlanta airport.  Hypothetically speaking, John Passenger arrived in the Atlanta airport on  a flight from the Dominican Republic. After disembarking, he did not follow the other passengers but began wandering aimlessly in the seating area next to the gate. Two Clayton County police officers, Officer Slammer and Officer Book’em, had been informed that John Passenger would be on the flight. The officers were dressed in plain clothes, with no weapons visible. They approached John Passenger from behind, and one officer said, “Excuse me, sir, I’m a police officer. Can I talk to you for a minute?” John Passenger turned and responded, “Yes,” in English, but when the officers asked him if he spoke English, he smiled and responded in English that he did not. John Passenger told the officers, through an interpreter, that he was in Atlanta for personal reasons and that he was employed as a construction worker. Officer Slammer asked to see the palms of John Passenger’s hands, and he saw that they were smooth and free of calluses. At this point, John Passenger began to appear very nervous; his hands shook and he began to sweat.

Officer Slammer explained to John Passenger that he was a narcotics officer; he asked permission to search John Passenger and his luggage, but John Passenger agreed to a search of his person only and not of his luggage. When asked why he was hesitant to allow his luggage to be searched, John Passenger replied that it contained X-rated material and women’s lingerie and that he would be embarrassed by a search. Agent Officer Book’em asked if John Passenger would rather have a drug sniffing dog check the luggage for narcotics, and John Passenger said that he would rather have a dog check the luggage. They proceeded to baggage claim, where the defendant’s bag was located.

Agent Officer Slammer called for a dog from the Tri-City Narcotics Unit. He also told John Passenger he was not under arrest. The K-9 unit arrived less than 15 minutes later, and the agents arranged for the dog, named K-9 Drug Dog, to check a line of four bags, including John Passenger’s luggage.  K-9 Drug Dog alerted to John Passenger’s bag. The officers again asked John Passenger if he would agree to a search of the bag. John Passenger responded that he would agree only if he could do the search himself, but the officers did not agree to this proposal. Officer Slammer then ordered John Passenger detained. The officers took him and the bag to the narcotics office, where Agent Espana, who spoke Spanish, informed John Passenger of his Miranda rights. The officers obtained a search warrant for the bag. Inside, they found five kilos of cocaine.

This hypothetical was taken from a real case.  Clearly, John Passenger did not adequately protect his rights in that he agreed to allow a k-9 dog at the Atlanta airport to do a free air sniff around his bag.  Second, he agreed to go with officers to allow the K-9 to sniff his luggage.  Lastly, he agreed to allow officers to search his bag without a warrant.  Obviously, even if you are not trafficking drugs at the airport, you should always protect your rights and never consent to a search unless it is requested by TSA for security purposes in order for you to fly.  Secondly, you should always be polite and respectful of law enforcement when you decline to permit them to search your luggage or walk with them to a location you do not want to go.  If they tell you you are under arrest then obviously comply with their commands.

One hopes a bad thing will not happen to you as you are travelling through Atlanta’s International Airport, but sometimes bad things happen to unassuming innocent people.  If you find that law enforcement has charged you with Trafficking Cocaine or Trafficking Marijuana at the Atlanta airport by searching your luggage and finding drugs, it is important that you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you if you are charged with this offense. The lawyers at our law office are experienced at defending these types of crimes and will work tirelessly to discover defenses in your case and protect you from these severe punishments. Call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

Decriminalized weed does not mean legal weed

Some cities in Georgia, including Atlanta, have decriminalized the possession of less than an ounce of weed. However, it is still very much illegal in the state of Georgia. So, what does that mean? It means that police officers and prosecutors have a choice; they can charge you with a city ordinance violation OR a violation of state law. The difference is the penalty. In Atlanta, the city ordinance violation for possession of weed less than one ounce is a $75 fine. The state law violation is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 12 months to serve and a $1,000 fine.

Any drug charge can have serious consequences, even simple weed charge. For example, it can affect your job, housing, or driving privileges. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug offense it is important to have a knowledgeable advocate on your side. Call for a free consultation today.

Trafficking Marijuana at the Atlanta Airport

If you are arrested for marijuana at the Atlanta airport, your case will likely be prosecuted in Clayton County Superior Court. The penalties you could possibly face if convicted depend on how much marijuana you have with you at the time of your arrest.

Georgia regulates marijuana through the Georgia Controlled Substance Act and O.C.G.A. §16-13-1(a)(1) says that marijuana is a controlled substance. The Georgia codes that specifically regulates marijuana crimes are O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(j) and O.C.G.A. § 16-13-31(c). The statutes say that “It shall be unlawful for any person to possess, have under his or her control, manufacture, deliver, distribute, dispense, administer, purchase, sell, or possess with intent to distribute marijuana”. The penalties an individual faces for possessing marijuana at the Atlanta airport depend on the quantity of marijuana and could range from a simple fine to up to 15 years in prison.

If you are caught with less than an ounce of marijuana, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and face a fine of up to $1000 and/or a year in jail. If you are caught with more than an ounce but less than 10 pounds of marijuana, you face a felony conviction and 1-10 years in prison.

However, for the higher amounts often intercepted at the airport, the penalties are severe. If you possess marijuana in excess of 10 pounds, you will be charged with trafficking marijuana and the penalties depend on the amount you possess:

  • If you are arrested with 10-2,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
  • If you are arrested with 2,000-10,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
  • If you are arrested with more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

As you can see, the penalties for trafficking marijuana at the Atlanta airport are steep. It is important that you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you if you are charged with this offense. The lawyers at W. Scott Smith are experienced at defending these types of crimes and will work tirelessly to discover defenses in your case and protect you from these severe punishments. Call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

Marijuana Offenses in Georgia

There are several ways the State can charge you with marijuana offenses in Georgia:

  • Possession of Less Than an Ounce– If you are arrested with less than an ounce of marijuana, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. The penalty includes up to a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in jail.
  • Possession of More Than an Ounce– If you are arrested with more than an ounce of marijuana, you will be charged with a felony. The penalty is 1-10 years and a fine.
  • Possession With Intent to Distribute– If you are arrested with marijuana and the State can prove that you intended to distribute the marijuana, they can charge you with possession with intent to distribute. The intent part of the charge requires proof by the State, but they can prove you intended to distribute the marijuana by bringing in witnesses to testify or with other evidence such as scales or packaging material. If you are found guilty of possession with intent to distribute, the first offense carries a possible prison sentence of 1-10 years. A second or subsequent offense carries a mandatory 10 years in prison and up to 40 years.
  • Trafficking Marijuana– If you are arrested with more than 10 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with trafficking marijuana. The State only has to prove that you knowingly possessed the marijuana, not that you knew the weight of the marijuana. If the weight of the drug is 10-2,000 pounds, the penalty is 5 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. If the weight of the drug is 2,000-10,000 pounds, the penalty is 7 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If the weight is more than 10,000 pounds, the penalty is 15 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

If you are charged with a marijuana offense, it is important to hire an experienced attorney to help defend you. First, it is important that the search that resulted in the drugs being found did not violate your constitutional rights. Next, the lawyers at W. Scott Smith will explore your possible defenses, such as lack of intent or lack of knowledge. The lawyers at W. Scott Smith have years of experience defending marijuana offenses. If you are charged in Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Clayton, Dekalb, Cherokee, Fayette, or Barrow County, call our office at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

What to do if you are arrested for marijuana trafficking at the airport ?

Imagine you have just flown into Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. You get off the plane and proceed to baggage claim. After you grab your bag, you are approached by several people who identify themselves as law enforcement. They ask to search your luggage and you agree. A search reveals a large quantity of marijuana and you have no idea how it got in your bag. You are now facing marijuana trafficking charges in Clayton County, Georgia.

Trafficking marijuana is defined as selling, manufacturing, growing, delivering, or possessing more than 10 pounds or marijuana. If the amount of marijuana is greater than 10 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds, the law requires a mandatory minimum 5 year prison sentence plus a $100,000 fine. If the quantity involved is greater than 2,000 pounds but less than 10,000 pounds, there is a 7 year mandatory minimum prison sentence plus a $250,000 fine. Finally, if the quantity of marijuana is greater than 10,000 pounds, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of at least 15 years as well as a fine of $1,000,000.

Although the above sentences are described as “mandatory minimum prison” sentences, there are a few limited ways in which someone convicted of marijuana trafficking may be sentenced to less prison time than what is required by the mandatory minimums: (1) If the defendant provides “substantial assistance” to the government in identifying, arresting, and/or convicting other people involved in the drug conspiracy, the prosecutor may move the court to reduce or suspend part or all of the defendant’s sentence; (2) by agreement of the parties through a “negotiated plea”; or (3) the judge may depart from these mandatory minimums if certain mitigating factors exist (no prior felonies, no firearm used, defendant not head of conspiracy, nobody was injured as a result of criminal conduct, or if the interests of justice would not be served by imposing a mandatory minimum sentence).

Clayton County

If you have been arrested in Clayton County for marijuana trafficking at Hartsfield-Jackson airport, the first and most important step is getting a bond. Only a superior court judge may set bail on a trafficking charge. When considering whether to grant a bond the judge analyzes four factors, whether the defendant is a significant risk of:

  1. Fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court
  2. Posing a threat or danger to any person
  3. Committing a felony while on pre-trial release
  4. Intimidating witnesses

Our firm can get the prosecutor to consent to a bond in the case if you have ties to the community and meet the above factors. In Clayton County, bonds for trafficking range from $50,000 up to $125,000. The judge may also impose non-monetary restrictions (house arrest, no contact provisions, GPS ankle monitor, curfew, etc.). There is always the possibility, however, that a judge will deny setting a bond in the case, even if the bond was consented to. If the prosecutor will not agree to a bond, then the defendant will have to go before the judge and offer evidence of defendant’s ties to the communities (length of residence, family ties, employment status and history, history of responding to legal process – failure to appears or probation violations, lack of criminal history).

If a bond is granted, the next step is fighting the case. Once all the evidence is gathered through the discovery process and our firm’s own independent investigation, we then speak with the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office in an attempt to discuss a resolution. IF a resolution cannot be reached, then we will schedule the case for a motions hearing and jury trial.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been arrested for drug trafficking, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today.


What is calendar call or a pretrial court date for a criminal case in Fulton County?

If you are charged with committing a crime, there are many different hearings and/or court dates that you may have to attend. One of those is, what some jurisdictions refer to as, calendar call or pretrial hearing. What is calendar call or pretrial hearing? A calendar call and/or pretrial hearing is a court date where the judge is wanting to know the status of where the case is, i.e., ready for trial or needing additional time.

What is the purpose of calendar call or pretrial? The purpose is to inform the court where the attorneys are in the case so that the court can set the case for trial. Some examples that an attorney would announce at calendar call or pretrial is that negotiations still pending, still reviewing discovery, still investigating, still missing discovery from the prosecutors, still waiting on medical documents or reports, still waiting on testing etc. Generally, nothing of significance happens at this court date unless you plan to enter a plea and close your case out. Some counties have calendar call or pretrial a week or two after arraignment. Typically, the scheduling for calendar call or pretrial is dependent on the county you have a case in and the judge you are in front of. Some counties and judges set calendar call or pretrial a month or two out.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime and has a pending case in Fulton County, having a lawyer help you through the process can ensure your rights are protected. Contact the Law Office of Scott Smith today for a free consultation at 404-581-0999.

Marijuana Trafficking at the Atlanta Airport

News reports of airline travel being back to 90 percent of pre-covid flying will lead to more scrutiny at the airport for passengers flying into Atlanta’ s airport.  Atlanta has the world’s largest airport: Jackson-Hartsfield International Airport.  In a discussion I had with a DEA agent, he told me on every flight from California, Arizona, and Colorado there will be a passenger on the flight with a large amount of trafficking marijuana.  Even though Marijuana is legal in some states, it is still illegal in Georgia.  If you get stopped by Clayton County, Drug Enforcement Agents or Atlanta Police, and you are found to be carrying greater than ten pounds of marijuana in your luggage you will be arrested for Marijuana Trafficking and taken to the Clayton County Jail.  In all cases, the first appearance judge will deny you a bond.  On every case our firm has been hired to assist couriers charged with marijuana trafficking in Atlanta, we have been able to get the client a bond in Clayton County.  In order to get a bond, you need to acquire copies of the warrants and incident reports.  The state’s prosecutor in Clayton County will want to run the subject’s criminal history.  Once those items are acquired, you can get a consent bond and bond out of jail.  It is also helpful if the person traveling has money (shows they are a courier and not seller), they fly very infrequently and they were cooperative to law enforcement.  However, people flying should never consent to a search of their luggage, as consent is voluntary and nobody should be subject to search of their person or personal effects such as luggage without a warrant.  If you or a loved one gets charged with marijuana trafficking at the Atlanta Airport, please do not hesitate to call our law office so we can assist with representation.  Our phone number is 404-581-0999.