In 2024, people can be arrested in Georgia for all sorts of different drug crimes. Possession of even a small trace “residue” amount of drugs can be enough for the police to arrest you. The drug laws are complicated and you may have defenses that you didn't know you had. Did the police have the right to stop you in the first place? Did the police violate your rights during the search? Did someone else have equal access to the drugs? Can they prove you had power and control over the drugs? Are they wrong about the kind of drug or the amount? There are so many important issues in a drug case. You need a smart, aggressive lawyer to protect your rights and your freedom.

Below is a description of the laws in Georgia regarding drug possession. I especially get lots of questions about marijuana laws and marijuana arrests. So, I've also done a short video at YouTube to explain the marijuana laws in Georgia as of 2024 and it can be found here:

YouTube Video - Marijuana Laws In Georgia 2024

I hope the video and the information below will help you. If you are charged with any kind of drug crime in and around Cobb County, feel free to call me at 404-904-2862.

Misdemeanor Possession

Possession of Marijuana Less than an Ounce

Possession of Drug-Related Objects

Prescriptions Not in the Proper Container

Minor In Possession of Alcohol

These are examples of misdemeanor drug/substance charges in Georgia which carry a penalty of a maximum of 12 months in custody and up to a $1,000 fine for each charge.  Some local jurisdictions in Georgia have stopped criminally charging less than an ounce of marijuana but other places still do. Under Georgia law, possession of marijuana less than an ounce is still a crime.

Marijuana – Ounce or More

If you are accused of possessing more than an ounce of marijuana, it is considered a felony in Georgia. The penalty is 1 to 10 years (in any combination of custody and/or probation). The same punishment is assessed if you are alleged to be selling marijuana. If you are accused of possessing 10 pounds or more of marijuana, then you could be charged with trafficking. Trafficking sentences can be as long as 30 years and a $1 million fine.

Felony Possession of Drugs / VGCSA

You might see your drug charges listed as “VGCSA” followed by the kind of drug that was the cause of the arrest. VGCSA stands for Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.

Under Georgia law, drugs are divided into “schedules” which are groupings of different drugs. Depending on which “schedule” of drug the police say you possessed, and the amount of the drug, the punishment for the offense may be different. Remember that the years listed as possible punishment usually means years in any combination of custody and/or probation.

Examples of Schedule 1 drugs: LSD, Heroin, Ecstasy/MDMA, and THC oil. (Low THC oil, below 5%, may be prosecuted under a different law.)                                                                  

Examples of Schedule 2 drugs: Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Opiates, and Oxycodone

Punishment for Schedule 1 and 2 (narcotics) :

less than 1 gram =  1 to 3 years

1 to 3.99 grams = 1 to 8 years

4 to 27.99 grams = 1 to 15 years

(Some weights of opium/heroin/morphine may fall under trafficking laws with much harsher penalties. Non-narcotic drugs have a different penalties. If the conviction is the third or more, penalties can be substantially higher.)                                                              

Examples of Schedule 3 drugs: Steroids

Examples of Schedule 4 drugs: Ambien, Xanax, Valium, Klonopin (without a valid prescription)

Examples of Schedule 5: prescribed compound drugs that include Codeine, Dihydrocodeine, or Opium

Punishment for Schedule 3, 4 and 5 drugs:

For 1st or 2nd offense = 1 to 3 years

For 3rd or more offense = 1 to 5 years

Intent to Distribute/VGCSA

Police will charge you with intent to distribute when they believe there is evidence that shows you not only possessed drugs, but that you were also selling drugs. The police often believe that if they find you with several small baggies (empty or full), and/or a digital scale, and/or some cash, that you should be charged with intent to distribute.

This charge of intent to distribute can substantially increase the punishment you are facing. For Intent to Distribute Schedule 1 or 2 drugs, the punishment is 5 to 20 years. For a second or more offense, the punishment 10 to 40 years, or life imprisonment. For schedule 3, 4 or 5 drugs, its 1 to 10 years.

A smart criminal defense attorney knows the best strategies to have these kinds of charges reduced to mere possession or dismissed entirely. The so-called evidence that the police use in these intent cases is often weak and can be defeated with an aggressive defense.


Trafficking cases involve large amounts of drugs and carry the steepest penalties in drug cases. Trafficking cases can also involve multiple co-defendants, wire taps, federal task forces and confidential informants. The penalties for trafficking depend on the kind of drug involved and the amount. Some people charged with trafficking could face a minimum sentence of 25 years and a $1 million fine.  If you are charged with trafficking, you need an attorney like Megan Grout who is experienced in handling these kinds of complicated cases.

Drug Courts, Rehabilitation, and Diversion

The good news for most people facing drug charges is that even if they are guilty, there are other many options out there besides prison. Depending on which jurisdiction (which city or county) has charged you, the courts and the prosecutors may offer programs to help you avoid prison and maybe even avoid a criminal conviction entirely. You may also be able to seek out rehabilitation on your own, as an alternative to serving time. Many of these programs require that you have an attorney to help you through the process. You need to know which options you may be eligible for and how best to protect your future.  Ms. Grout will be happy to talk to you about the different options that you have for your specific case.

If you've been charged with a drug crime in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area, Cobb County, Acworth, Smyrna, Marietta, Powder Springs, Austell, or Kennesaw, call Megan Grout for a free 30 minute no-obligation consultation. She's ready to help protect your freedom and your future.