Arrested for Edibles?
The Shocking Truth and Unfair Treatment under Georgia Law
I get lots of questions about how much weed is a felony in Georgia and what will happen if you are arrested for weed. I've answered these questions here on my blog: Arrested for Weed? Answers To Your Questions. Below I'm going to talk specifically about edibles, and how harshly Georgia treats possession of an edible.
Georgia Law Is Harsh When It Comes to THC Edibles
When I talk to people about the drug laws in Georgia, one of the biggest surprises is how Georgia handles edibles, and how bad it can be for unsuspecting people who thought having an edible is not a big deal. It IS a big deal in Georgia. As of the writing of this post, edibles are legal in about 20 states but Georgia is not one of them. In Georgia, edibles that contain weed (THC) are a felony offense. Even if you bought the edible legally in another state, you cannot possess it in Georgia. Also, it does not matter if you haven't eaten any of it, haven't unwrapped it, or you're “holding it for a friend,” you will still likely be arrested and charged with felony possession for VGCSA Schedule 1 (Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act).
Let's start with what the law says. Georgia law considers THC to be a Schedule I narcotic. This means they treat THC in the same category as heroin and fentanyl. To be clear, Schedule I does not include marijuana in it's leafy green form. A Schedule I narcotic would be THC oil, wax, and any other ways that the THC has been removed from the marijuana plant itself. That means every THC cartridge, wax, or edible with THC in it, falls in the Schedule I.
If the police arrest you with an edible (and the drug lab later confirms it has THC in it), here is exactly what the law says about what you may be facing:
- If the aggregate weight, including any mixture, is less than one gram of a solid substance, less than one milliliter of a liquid substance, or if the substance is placed onto a secondary medium with a combined weight of less than one gram, by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than three years;
- If the aggregate weight, including any mixture, is at least one gram but less than four grams of a solid substance, at least one milliliter but less than four milliliters of a liquid substance, or if the substance is placed onto a secondary medium with a combined weight of at least one gram but less than four grams, by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than eight years; and
- Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, if the aggregate weight, including any mixture, is at least four grams but less than 28 grams of a solid substance, at least four milliliters but less than 28 milliliters of a liquid substance, or if the substance is placed onto a secondary medium with a combined weight of at least four grams but less than 28 grams, by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 15 years.
So what exactly does all that mean?
Breaking Down The Punishment – Its All About Weight
You notice that the law says “if the substance is placed onto a secondary medium” then discusses the “combined weight”? The “secondary medium” means where the THC has been mixed in with something else. This includes situations where the THC has been mixed in with other things – including the ingredients in a cookie, brownie, gummy or rice krispie treat.
The drub labs used by the prosecutors can confirm the presence of THC in an edible, but there is no way to extract out and measure exactly how much total THC was in that particular edible. When you think about making a brownie and then later trying to figure out exactly how much egg or sugar was in that exact brownie, it's impossible because you can pull it out to measure it. It's the same for the drug lab. There is no way to tell how much THC is in there. And this is where things get bad for people charged with possessing an edible in Georgia.
Since there's no way to figure out how to analyze exactly how much THC is in the edible, Georgia law allows the police and prosecutors to use THE WEIGHT OF THE ENTIRE EDIBLE. So even if there is just a very little amount of THC in it, all that matters is the total weight of your edible.
- If the edible (or edibles) you're caught with weigh less than 1 gram, you're facing 1 to 3 years imprisonment.
- If the edible (or edibles) you're caught with weigh at least 1 gram, but less than 4 grams, you're facing 1 to 8 years imprisonment.
- If the edible (or edibles) you're caught with weigh at least 4 grams, but less than 28 grams, you're facing 1 to 15 years imprisonment.
- If you're caught with edibles weighing 28 grams or more, you could be facing trafficking or intent to distribute allegations, which come with an initial penalty of 5 to 30 years imprisonment.
Does this mean my punishment could depend on what type of edible I have?
Sadly, yes. Imagine two people who have edibles with the exact same amount of THC in them. One person has an edible gummy, and the other person has a single brownie. We all know the gummy will weigh much less than the brownie. So, even though the gummy and the brownie both have the same amount of THC in them, the person with the brownie could be facing 1 to 8 or 1 to 15 years in prison, where the person with the gummy would only face 1 to 3 years. Does that seem fair? Not at all. But that is how the law is written.
It's also strange to think that someone who possesses a few vape cartridges of THC oil may end of with less punishment that someone with a single edible brownie that has only a very little amount of THC in it. Even though we don't usually think about it, baked goods (like brownies, cookies, rice krispy treats) actually weigh quite a bit.
So am I telling you to use gummies instead of brownies? No. The most important thing you should take away from this is that ANY form of THC (other than less than an ounce of leafy green marijuana or low THC oil combined with lawful medical card) is a felony in Georgia. So possessing any kind of edible in Georgia is very risky.
A True Story of How Harsh Georgia Law Can Be With Edibles
I had a client who was arrested for possessing a single edible. It was given to her by a friend and had not been opened. It was a large rice krispy treat. When the police weighed it, it weighed just over 26 grams. She had not eaten any of it, she merely had it in her bag. At 26 grams, that edible meant she was facing 1 to 15 years in prison. And if it had weighed just a little bit more, she may have been facing trafficking charges, with a 5 to 30 year possibility.
Here is a copy of the actual report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that tested the "cereal treat." I have removed the all of her identifying information.
I am glad to report that I was able to work out a deal where she only had to probation for 2 years and she will not be a convicted felon. Obviously, this is a great result for someone who was facing up to 15 years in prison. But it is still shocking to think that she was facing so much time over a single THC edible that is legal in other states.
What can I do if I'm arrested for an edible?
The first thing you need to do is not give any kind of statement to the police. The next thing to do is call a criminal defense lawyer. There are several different defenses to a drug charge, and you will need to discuss all your options with your lawyer. There are also different ways to manage a drug conviction and possibly keep your record clean. Do not try to handle the case on your own. Felony drug cases, especially ones involving edibles where the weight of the edible can increase your prison exposure, means you must have a lawyer to help you.
If you, or a friend or family member, has been arrested for possession of edibles (might be called VGCSA - Schedule I), feel free to call me. I am happy to do a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your options.
Posted Nov 21, 2022 at 11:17:16
The laws are so harsh in the state of Georgia I spent 6 months in Bibb county jail a $600 fine just for the smell of marijuana. In Henry county right in front of the racetrack I went to jail for so little marijuana in the one gallon evidence bag it was hard to even see and again $1,200 fine one year in jail. 👎 It is time in Georgia for the laws to be loosened on marijuana they are way too strict
Posted Feb 04, 2023 at 15:08:04
What if my friend who is on probation. Has been for a long time, just got arrested with a brownie edible. It was mine. Walton country. Is there anyway I can tell them it was mine and they take me and not him??
Megan Grout Reply
Posted Feb 06, 2023 at 09:33:23
Barbara – You can tell the police that it was your brownie edible, but keep in mind, that may result in them trying to charge you with a felony. Also, even if it was yours, if your friend had possession of it, that is enough for them to charge him, even if he didn’t “own” it. It’s a tough situation and you should contact a lawyer in Walton county to help you. Good luck with it all!
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