The goal of Peachtree NORML is to provide information and education to Georgia citizens about the failure of an 80 year-old war on the cannabis plant. We do this by providing our opinion and links to information that encourage you to research the facts on your own. We do not provide legal advice and encourage anyone facing criminal charges to retain competent legal representation.
The below table, borrowed from NORML’s Georgia page, lists the penalties for various marijuana-related charges in Georgia.
In 1990 there were 8,314 arrests for marijuana possession or sales by all of the local, county and state law enforcement agencies in the state of Georgia combined. By 2013 that number ballooned to over 35,000, with nearly 85% of those arrests being for possession only. Georgia ranks sixth in the nation in the number of people arrested for marijuana.
“Marijuana prohibition is taking a toll on the entire country, but Georgia is among the states paying the biggest price,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Law enforcement resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes instead of arresting adults for using a substance objectively less harmful than alcohol.”
Racial disparities in marijuana arrests
No group understands the war on the cannabis plant better than Georgia’s African American community. In 2010 Georgia law enforcement officers arrested 389 out of every 100,000 citizens for marijuana, and African Americans accounted for 64% of those arrests In fact and a 2013 ACLU study entitled “The War on Marijuana in Black and White concluded that African Americans in Georgia were 3.7 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites.