Marijuana Edibles and THC Cartridge Charges in Georgia

If you have been charged in Georgia with marijuana edibles or a THC cartridge here is what you need to know to prepare yourself for court.


Edible forms of cannabis, including THC ladened gummies (i.e. gummy bears), cookies, brownies, honey sticks, Rice Krispy treats, chocolate bars, sodas, lozenges, and capsules, are all illegal in Georgia. All marijuana edibles contain a significant amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC edibles in Georgia, even those consumed for recreational and medical purposes, are illegal. Similarly, all electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo, electronic pipe, or weed pen with a THC vapor cartridge is illegal under Georgia law.


Under Georgia law, extracting marijuana oil out of the plant-based material makes the crime of possession a felony offense. The punishment you can face for possessing marijuana edibles or a THC vape pen are described at the bottom of this article.

THC is the psychopharmacologically active component of the cannabis plant. Most THC exists in the form of an isomer known as delta-9-THC, but somewhat less than ten percent of naturally occurring THC is of the delta-8 isomer. Both delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC produce a psychological effect. They are found in all cannabis plants, and they are not known to exist elsewhere in nature. Concentrations of THC can be produced in two ways, either by chemically extracting it from the cannabis plant or by synthesizing it in the laboratory. A simple procedure, using organic solvents to remove the THC from cannabis, can produce an oily substance variously known as “hash oil,” “marijuana oil,” or “liquid marijuana.” THC thus extracted “is not marijuana; it is tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the extract, the pure compound from the drug.


Edibles, most commonly cannabidiol or CBD, with very little THC are illegal in Georgia.  Under Georgia’s strict laws regarding the use or possession of any product that has THC extracted from the plant (or where no plant fibers are present) is a serious charge.  The lone exception is for prescribed THC oil where you have a Georgia prescription.  Once you obtain a Georgia THC card, Georgia allows you to possess 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil within the state of Georgia.  However, the law requires that the low THC oil be “in a pharmaceutical container labeled by the manufacturer indicating the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol therein,” be less than 5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol by weight, and that the amount of oil in the container – or containers – not exceed 20 fluid ounces total.  Ironically, the “standard dose” in recreational THC use is considered 10 mg over a five-hour period.


The crimes relating to the possession or sale of marijuana are set forth in the Georgia Controlled Substances Act Title 16 Chapter 13.  Under OCGA § 16-13-21(16) marijuana is specifically defined as:


all parts of the plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of such plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds, or resin; but shall not include samples as described in subparagraph (P) of paragraph (3) of Code Section 16-13-25 and shall not include the completely defoliated mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil, or cake, or the completely sterilized samples of seeds of the plant which are incapable of germination.


OCGA §16-13-30:(3)(P), was changed by the Georgia legislature to provide:


Tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid which does not contain plant material exhibiting the external morphological features of the plant of the genus Cannabis, but not including such substance when found in hemp or hemp products.


Penalties for Weed Edibles is located in OCGA § 16-13-30:

There are three basic tiers of punishment and they are all determined by the total weight of the substance.  Note there is a difference between the weight of a solid substance (gummy) and the weight of a liquid (vape cartridge).

Tier 1:

  • Less than one gram of solid substance.
  • Less than one milliliter of liquid substance.
  • Placed into a secondary medium with a combined weight of less than one gram.
  • Range of punishment is one to three years.

Tier 2:

  • At least one gram, but less than four grams of solid substance.
  • At least one milliliter of liquid substance, but less than four milliliters.
  • Placed into a secondary medium with the combined weight of more than one gram, but less than four grams.
  • Range of punishment is one to eight years.

Tier 3:

  • At least four grams, but less than twenty-eight grams of solid substance.
  • At least four milliliters of liquid substance, but less than twenty-eight milliliters.
  • Placed into a secondary medium with the combined weight of more than four grams, but less than twenty-eight grams.
  • Range of punishment is one to fifteen years.

I would be happy to meet with you any time for a free consultation to discuss your case, your rights and your defenses to these allegations. Our office is in downtown Atlanta.

Call me at 404-581-0999 and let’s schedule a time to meet and discuss your case.

It is your life, your criminal record and you deserve the best representation possible.

Child Molestation in Clayton County

Child Molestation is a serious crime in the State of Georgia. If you are arrested in Clayton County for child molestation, please do not make any statements to the police. It is imperative that you retain a qualified attorney immediately if you are being accused of child molestation. The Clayton County District Attorney’s office zealously prosecutes these cases and they are very prepared. Many allegations of child molestation are false. Even if you know the allegation of child molestation against you is made up, you still must take it very seriously and aggressively defend yourself.

If you are arrested, you will be on the calendar the following morning for First Appearance. At this hearing, the Clayton County Magistrate Judge will read the warrants to you. They then might consider bond depending on the allegations but will likely deny bond in a child molestation. You will then need to file a motion for a formal bond hearing and a preliminary hearing. These hearings take place at the Clayton County Courthouse. It is crucial to get an attorney retained to be at the First Appearance hearing at the Clayton County jail.

O.C.G.A. § 16-6-4 defines child molestation as follows:

A person commits the offense of child molestation when such person: Does any immoral or indecent act to or in the presence of or with any child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the accused OR by means of electronic device, transmits images of a person engaging in, inducing, or otherwise participating in any immoral or indecent act to a child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the person.

Child Molestation is a specific intent crime. Whether the accused has the requisite intent when he committed the act of child molestation is up to a jury. The jury can infer the requisite intent of “arousing or satisfying sexual desires” from the commission of the act. However, proof of the accused’s actual arousal is not required. Intent can be inferred from the testimony of the victim or from the actions of the accused.

No penetration is required for child molestation. All that is required is the touching of the child’s body along with the requisite intent. It does not matter whether the child was clothed or unclothed in determining whether the act was immoral or indecent.

The indictment does not have to allege the specific details of the child molestation. It can use general language of the statute.

The punishment for child molestation is a mandatory of 5 years to 20 years in prison. If it a second conviction for child molestation then it can be life in prison or a mandatory 10 years up to 30 years in prison.

If someone is making an allegation of child molestation against you in Clayton County it is imperative that you do not talk to the police, do not talk to the person who is accusing you of child molestation and call us. Time is of the essence to properly investigate the allegations.

I would be happy to meet with you any time for a free consultation to discuss your case, your rights and your defenses to these allegations. Our office is in downtown Atlanta.

Call me at 404-581-0999 and let’s schedule a time to meet and discuss your case.

It is your life, your criminal record and you deserve the best representation possible.

How Will the Corona Virus Affect My Criminal Case?

            COVID-19 continues to have worldwide impact on everyday life. The new normal is unlike anything anyone in our lifetime has experienced. Terms of “Shelter in Place” and “Stay at Home Orders” are on every news station and radio broadcast. You may be wondering legally what it all means – and how it will affect your criminal case in Georgia.

            If you have a criminal case pending, your case is likely being impacted. On March 14, 2020, Chief Supreme Court Justice Harold D. Melton issued an order declaring a statewide Judicial Emergency.  (YOU CAN LINK THE ORDER HERE:  The current order is in effect for 30 days, or until April 13, 2020 at 11:59pm, unless it is further extended. In that order, Justice Melton suspended all judicial operations for non-essential functions. This means that regular calendar calls, jury trials, status hearings, and plea dates will not be occurring as scheduled. No grand jurors or trial jurors will be empaneled to try a criminal case during this time. 

            Courts will remain open to address issues that are “necessary to protect health, safety and liberty of individuals.” Hearings involving motion for bond are still occurring. This means that if you or a loved one is arrested during the judicial emergency, a first appearance and bond hearing will still occur. More and more jurisdictions are allowing these hearings to take place via video conferencing. In fact, Justice Melton, through the order, encouraged Courts to handle court functions via videoconferencing when possible in order to continue the essential business of the Court while protecting citizens, judges, and lawyers from exposure to the coronavirus.

            Temporary protective orders (TPOs), commonly known as restraining orders will also continue to be addressed as normal given that these hearings are deemed necessary to protect safety of individuals in that they involve domestic violence. Juvenile detention hearings, as well as mental commitment hearings, will continue to operate normally pursuant to the judicial emergency order. Hearings for the applications for criminal search warrants and arrest warrants will also continue to occur normally which means that law enforcement are still investigating and arresting individuals accused of crimes.

            Other ways that your criminal case will be affected are that many deadlines commonly practiced in criminal cases are suspended. For example, the statute of limitations for the State of Georgia to bring formal charges against you is tolled. Typically, the State is required to file formal accusation or indictment within two years of arrest for misdemeanors, and four years of arrest for most felonies. Due to the judicial emergency it is possible that the State will bring charges after the typical statute of limitation has run.

            Additionally, if someone with a current criminal case has a pending speedy trial demand filed, the deadline at which the State must try the case will also be suspended pursuant to the Judicial Emergency Order. Typically, when a speedy trial demand is filed, the case must be tried by the following term of court. This deadline has been suspended in Georgia and thus speedy trials will take longer to occur than normally.

            Once the coronavirus is contained and courts re-opened, you will receive your next court date, and your case should proceed through the justice system at that point, albeit with certain delays. For now, in order to protect individuals and those who work in the justice system, business is not as usual. However, we at the Law Office of W. Scott Smith continue to work around the clock on behalf of their clients and are prepared to hit the ground running where our cases were left off and will work tirelessly to assist in the release of people in custody. If you or a loved one has any questions about their criminal cause during the coronavirus, call us today for a FREE CONSULTATION at 404-581-0999.

Released on Copy of Citation in Georgia – Is it Still a Crime?

In Georgia, you don’t have to be arrested to be charged with a crime. All traffic offenses and certain other crimes allow officers to release you on a copy of citation. This includes city ordinance violations in many Georgia municipalities, all traffic offenses including DUI, some drug crimes, minor theft cases, and other crimes and misdemeanors. Just because you haven’t been arrested does not mean you aren’t facing a serious criminal charge that could be on your criminal record forever.

The good news is that because you weren’t arrested and fingerprinted, it means that arrest is not on your criminal history right now. But it very well could be later, and it is important to have the right Georgia criminal defense attorney on your side to prevent that citation from hurting you later.

The right Georgia criminal defense attorney can acquire all the evidence in the case and do everything they can to try and prevent you from being fingerprinted later and a cycle appearing on your Georgia Criminal History. Many municipalities require fingerprinting after conviction, or sometimes if you request a jury trial on your case. Once you are fingerprinted, that charge may appear on your Georgia criminal history and be available to people running background checks.

Also, just because you aren’t fingerprinted, doesn’t mean there is not a record of your case in the Clerk’s office where you are charged. Many background check companies are now going directly to local Clerk’s offices in your area looking for open and closed cases with your name and date of birth. Even if you weren’t arrested, and often if a case is dismissed and proper procedures aren’t taken, the charges of your case still show up in the Clerk’s record, potentially impacting your ability to find work in Georgia.

Our office of criminal defense attorneys will do everything we can to protect your criminal history. Call us today for a free consultation at 404-581-0999.

Possession of Edibles in Georgia

In the past ten years, thanks to the decriminalization and legalization in other states, the possession and consumption of marijuana has changed drastically. Beyond just your typical green leafy marijuana, there are chocolates, gummy bears, hard candies, drinks, waxes, resins, oils, creams, and other substances used to intake THC into your body. 

Misdemeanor or Felony?

In Georgia, possession of green leafy marijuana  is a misdemeanor if you possess under an ounce. Possession of over an ounce of green, leafy marijuana is a felony. But what most people do not know is that possession of any other product that has THC in it that is not green, leafy marijuana is a felony. It doesn’t matter that the edible, weed cartridge, wax or other substance was under an ounce. It doesn’t matter if it was only one brownie, or gummy bear, or cartridge. It’s a felony in violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act (VGCSA). On top of that, if the THC is baked into a brownie, or in a beverage, officers use the entire weight of the substance to determine weight, and not just the part of it that has THC in it. These substances are heavy and can hit Possession with Intent and Trafficking levels quickly.

It’s important that you know the laws in Georgia.

Officers are now trained to look for substances beyond green, leafy marijuana. They are looking for cartridges. They are looking for edibles. They are looking for distinct smells given off by concentrated marijuana products. Five years ago we saw very few if any arrests for these weed products. But over the past year, we are seeing more and more clients come in and tell us, “He found my cartridges.” Or “They went looking straight for my wax.”

Our office has been on the forefront of this shift in marijuana products in Georgia. Our team of educated and knowledgeable attorneys can help you find defenses to your felony weed charges. Call us today for a free consultation at 404-581-0999.

Elder Abuse in Georgia

As Georgia’s senior citizen population has increased, and as more and more of them are victims of crimes, Georgia legislature has enacted tough penalties for criminal defendants charged with Elder Abuse.

Most District Attorney’s office in Georgia have designated Elder Abuse prosecutors. If you are charged with Elder Abuse, it is vital that you take the charges seriously and prepare yourself to defend them.

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder Abuse can be charged when the victim is 65 years or older. O.C.G.A. 16-5-100(4).

There are 4 specific types of Elder Abuse in Georgia.

  • Neglect – When a guardian or other person supervising the welfare of or having immediate charge, control, or custody willfully deprives a disabled adult, elder person, or resident of health care, shelter or necessary sustenance to the extent that the health or well-being of such person is jeopardized. O.C.G.A. 16-5-101(a)

With neglect, the conduct of the defendant has to be willful and not just negligent. If you are charged with Neglect in an Elder Abuse case, it is imperative that you do not make any statements and hire an attorney as soon as possible. The potential punishment for Neglect in an Elder Abuse case is 20 years in prison and a $ 50,000 fine. We have seen an increase each year in the number of prosecutions of Neglect in Elder Abuse cases.

  • Exploit – Any person who knowingly and willfully exploits, willfully inflicts physical pain or injury, sexual abuse, mental anguish or unreasonable confinement; or willfully deprives of essential services a disabled adult, elderly person or resident.

Exploitation cases involving elderly citizens compose the majority of the cases. The statute broadly describes ways in which you can be charged with Elder abuse. The potential punishment for Exploiting an Elder is 20 years in prison and a $ 50,000 fine.

  • Intimidate – Any person who threatens, intimidates, or attempts to intimidate a disabled person, elder person or resident can be charged with Elder Abuse.

In cases of intimidation, words matter. Prosecutors take these cases very seriously. The potential punishment for a case of intimidation of an elder is 1 year in prison and a $ 5,000 fine.

  • Obstruct – Any person who willfully or knowingly obstructs or in any way impedes an investigation conducted pursuant to 5 of Title 30 or Article 4 of Chapter 8 of Title 31.

In cases where you are alleged to have obstructed an investigation, the potential punishment is 1 year in prison and a $ 5,000 fine.

One area that is frequently asked of us is if a person who works at a long-term care facility is subject to prosecution in Elder Abuse cases due to the actions of someone else who works there. The answer is no unless you were a knowing and willful participant to or a conspirator in the abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Call us today!

If you are charged with Elder Abuse, you need to take it seriously. The prosecutor you are up against likely only handles Elder Abuse cases and the prosecutor will be well prepared.

Please call us at 404-581-0999 or email me at anytime for a free consultation.

Airport Marijuana Trafficking

The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta is one of the busiest airports in the world. Thousands of travelers pass through every day for business and pleasure alike. It is a hub for nearly every major airline, flying passengers to the four corners of the world.

On High Alert for Drugs

Due to the high volume of flights and passengers, airport security, TSA agents, FBI Agents, Clayton County Police Department, Atlanta Police Department and the US Drug Enforcement Agency are trained to spot and act quickly on any suspected criminal behavior. We often get calls regarding drugs or weapons found in passengers’ luggage. Marijuana charges and in particular trafficking in marijuana are incredibly common at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, especially from flights out of Arizona, California and Colorado.

What Happens To My Bag?

Your bag that contains marijuana is brought from underneath the plane and directed to baggage claim at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. While you exit and make your way to the next terminal or to pick up your bags, the luggage is subjected to a K-9 Unit search. Courts have continually determined that using canines at the airport is lawful, and their actions are not considered searches under the 14th Amendment (United States v. Place) as long as the bag is not opened or searched before the dog alerts on the luggage. Law enforcement have probable cause to search your bag if a dog alerts the agent that marijuana is present. Once they find the drugs, they will detain you and likely charge you with trafficking marijuana.

Where Will My Case Be?

If you are charged, you will be sent to the Clayton County Jail, and the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office will handle your prosecution in Superior Court. At this point, it is imperative that you seek out representation to move forward and get out of jail quickly. We have years of experience in Clayton County handling various charges, including those involving incidents at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport.  Recently we have been very successful in arranging a bond on Trafficking at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Call us today for your free consultation at 404-581-0999. We will hear the details of your case and provide you with legal advice that could save your freedom.

Child Molestation Charges: What To Do

If you or a loved one is arrested for child molestation in Georgia, 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.

Do not think that just because you are innocent that the charges will be dismissed. Child molestation charges are aggressively prosecuted in Georgia and prosecutors and the police believe children who make the accusations.

Make sure your attorney has had jury trials in child molestation cases and has won these cases. Do not let an attorney handle your case who does not specifically handle these cases.

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

The Steps

Here is what you should do if arrested for child molestation:

  1. Hire an attorney – Make sure that attorney actually handles and tries child molestation cases. Most criminal defense attorneys do not handle child molestation cases. Make sure the attorney you talk to does regularly handles child molestation cases in Georgia.
  2. Avoid making any statements – Do not walk into the police department and profess your innocence. 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 child molestation, you have to start preparing for your jury trial. Do not make any statements to anyone except your lawyer.
  3. Start gathering important evidence
    • Gather and preserve any physical evidence in your possession that might relate to the child making the accusation. This includes clothing, photos, video or any other tangible object.
    • 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.
    • Witnesses – Immediately make a list of any person who you think might have information about this child molestation 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.

What NOT To Do when Charged with Child Molestation

Here is what you should never do if arrested for child molestation:

  1. Never talk to the alleged victim or the family.
  2. Never have any contact with the alleged victim through a 3rd party or through social media.
  3. Never talk to law enforcement without an attorney present.
  4. Never talk to a child welfare agency or any other governmental agency without an attorney present.

Call us TODAY

If you are arrested for child molestation or any sex offense in Georgia, please call our office 24/7 at 404-581-0999 or send us an email at 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.

DUI: Blood Alcohol Concentration

This blog article serves to discuss how Georgia law handles varying Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels, from 0.00% to 0.08% and beyond.

BAC of 0.05% or Less

If a chemical test of your blood or breath falls within this range, then the law[1]provides the defense with a presumption of non-impairment. This means the trier of fact (judge or jury) is entitled to infer that the defendant is not impaired based on this low alcohol concentration. This presumption of non-impairment, may however, be rebutted by the prosecution. Typically, this is done through presenting evidence of “bad driving” (accident, traffic violation, etc.), or through other manifestations associated with alcohol impairment. If your blood alcohol comes back in an amount this low, a skilled DUI lawyer should be able to get the charge dismissed or reduced.

BAC Greater than 0.05%  but Less than 0.08%

In this situation, the law provides no inference the person was or was not under the influence of alcohol. This BAC range is treated as neutral territory, it doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t help either. Again, this evidence is to be taken into consideration with other competent evidence determining impairment.

BAC Greater 0.08% or More

A BAC of 0.08 grams or greater amounts to a per se violation of the DUI statute. This means the law automatically deems you impaired, regardless of alcohol tolerance. For this reason, it is imperative defense counsel do anything possible to eliminate this BAC number from being introduced at trial. And if the BAC is admitted at trial, the defense lawyer is tasked with casting doubt on the validity of the BAC result. This can be accomplished through effective cross-examination, employment of an expert witness, and a thorough investigation of the case.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today for a free case evaluation. You’ll find a local Atlanta DUI attorney ready to aggressively fight on your behalf. You can also find out more detailed information about Atlanta laws here.

[1] O.C.G.A. § 40-6-392(b)(1)

Theft by Receiving Stolen Firearm

  Under § OCGA 16-8-7, a person commits the offense of theft by receiving stolen property when he receives, disposes of, or retains stolen property which he knows or should know was stolen.” If the item in question is less than $1,500, it is a misdemeanor, meaning the maximum punishment that someone can receive is a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. If the item reportedly stolen and possessed is worth more than $1,500, then that person will be charged with a felony. The punishment in that situation can be anywhere from 1 to 10 years in prison.

What’s my defense for stolen firearm?

    If you or a loved one has been charged with this offense, know that there are defenses in Georgia law. Possession of stolen property, alone, will not warrant a criminal conviction that will be carried forever. The State must prove knowledge that the item was stolen.  This knowledge, however, can be inferred from the circumstances, specifically if the circumstances would create suspicion it was stolen in the mind of an ordinarily prudent person.

If the item in question is a firearm, the crime will automatically be charged as a felony carrying 1 to 5 years in prison if convicted. The good news is courts have ruled in defendants’ favor in various situations. For example, it is insufficient to prove the person knew the gun was stolen just because it was bought on the street at a reduced price. Additionally, even if the gun is labeled for Law Enforcement use, this too is also insufficient for a criminal conviction for this charge.        

We can help!

     The attorneys of W. Scott Smith have handled numerous Theft by Receiving charges all over the state of Georgia, many of which involved stolen firearms. Because this is a felony charge, it is imperative to have attorneys on your side familiar with the law and defenses.  Call us today with your questions on Theft by Receiving Stolen Firearm. We offer FREE CONSULTATIONS at 404-581-0999.

by Mary Agramonte