Medicinal marijuana is legal in Georgia, in limited circumstances. It has been for a while now, but the law is much more limited in Georgia than elsewhere. For people facing physical pain for their various elements, the legalization of it has been a saving grace, that is, for their pain at least. Some have found themselves victims of controversial DUI charges. Controversial because THC stays in the body long after the effects of the drug have worn off and so the driver may not have been intoxicated at all at the time of driving. Of course, each person reacts differently, but because of marijuana's complicated effect on the body (or lack thereof), there are no objective means to determine if a driver was indeed driving while intoxicated by medicinal marijuana.
These controversial DUI marijuana arrests, however, have been minimal. But now, a new bill may bring recreational marijuana to the State. For those of you who like to smoke pot, this is good news. The only downfall: it could compound the latter existing DUI problem that medicinal marijuana has exposed.
New Bill Introduced to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in Georgia
Senator Curt Thompson, Democrat, has introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Speaking to WSB-TV2 News, he admits that it is an "uphill battle," but the "historical trends and the political trends nationally, even here in Georgia, are on [his] side." So far, according to Fox5 News, there are six State Senators behind the bill.
Residents are showing support, too. Fox5 News identified a Gwinnett County resident Norman Smith, who said, "If we legalize it, people can go tot he store and buy it and it takes it out of the hands of the dope dealers."Another Gwinnett County resident, Sammy Baker, who thinks legalization is better than "getting people in the criminal system, and all of a sudden you have a felony and you can't get hired."
Opposition for the bill remains. And with General Attorney Sessions announcing in January that he will pursue the end to the Obama-policy that allowed legal pot to flourish, it may be a tougher battle to legalize recreational marijuana this year. That said, the possibility of recreational marijuana's legalization has never been greater.
The Problem of Determining Marijuana Intoxication While Driving Would Still Exist
If recreational marijuana should become legal in Georgia -- and that's a big IF -- what would that mean for DUI marijuana? Using Colorado and Washington states as references, that means confusion and legal battles. Motorists have been arrested for no good reason in these states for driving while intoxicated by marijuana. The problem as experienced in Georgia with the few medicinal marijuana cases is that you can test positive for marijuana via a drug test even after having consumed it days earlier. THC remains in your system for days or weeks, depending on the person and the amount and frequency of use. For someone who is consuming marijuana regularly, this poses an even greater risk while driving.
Recreational legalization could mean, as experienced in Colorado and Washington, an uptick in users, and that could translate to more persons driving who have recently consumed marijuana in any one of its capacities. If an officer pulls you over and smells a hint of marijuana on your person or in the car, the assumption is made. Even without evidence of impairment, which is a serious problem among officers, you could be arrested, which is a serious problem for you.
At present, drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana in Georgia are in a position of legal vulnerability. If you have been charged with DUI marijuana in Georgia, immediately contact a Georgia DUI Drug attorney.