Georgia maintains some of the nation’s strictest drug possession laws. Individuals who receive a drug-related conviction may face fines and even prison time, along with a mandatory six-month license suspension for the first offense and longer suspensions for subsequent offenses.
Despite these harsh penalties, some counties offer drug treatment in lieu of jail time.
Illegal drug classifications
The drug schedule in Georgia categorizes controlled substances as follows:
- Schedule I drugs: high abuse potential, no medical use
- Schedule II: high abuse and psychological or physical dependence potential, only closely monitored medical use
- Schedule III: low chance for abuse, low to moderate dependence potential, accepted medical use
- Schedule IV: low chance for abuse, limited dependence potential, accepted medical use
- Schedule V: lowest chance for abuse, limited dependence potential, accepted medical use
These categorizations inform the penalties for possession of controlled substances in Georgia. Cannabis is not scheduled as a controlled substance and carries separate penalties.
Drug possession penalties
Drug offenses in Georgia are felonies. Possession penalties are as follows:
- Possession of any amount of a Schedule I drug or Schedule II narcotic drug: two to 15 years in prison for the first offense and up to 30 years in prison for a second offense
- Possession of any amount of a non-narcotic Schedule II drug: two to 15 years in prison for the first offense and five to 30 years in prison for a second offense
- Possession of Schedule III, IV or V drugs: one to five years in prison for the first offense and one to 10 years in prison for a subsequent offense
Penalties for Georgia drug possession vary based on a number of factors. The court will consider age, work or education status, circumstances of the case, amount and type of substance, intended use and other details when determining an appropriate sentence.