If you are pulled over by police while driving in Georgia, you first must use your turn signal and pull your car over to a safe location. Follow the officer’s instructions, stay calm, answer questions, and provide the requested documents.
In Georgia, Cannabis DUI is a serious offense, and the repercussions are severe. Furthermore, Georgia’s cannabis laws are restrictive compared to many other states. If you are driving with cannabis, knowing your rights under the law and being prepared is essential.
Georgia’s Cannabis Laws
You cannot grow, sell, or possess cannabis flower in Georgia. Any inhalation, vaping, or smoking of cannabis is illegal, and food products infused with THC are prohibited.
The only legal cannabis possession allowed is through Georgia’s medical cannabis program, which helps people with certain health conditions apply for a Low-THC Oil Registry Card. Registered Georgia medical cannabis patients are allowed to possess low-THC oil if they meet the following requirements:
- The maximum low-THC oil (less than 5% THC) allowed in a medical cannabis patient’s possession is 20 fluid ounces or less. The amount of CBD must be at least equal to THC.
- A registered cardholder or caregiver must have their registration card in their possession.
- The cardholder must store the low-THC oil in a labeled pharmaceutical container.
However, the law in Georgia is still evolving. Because Georgia has not yet issued dispensing or production licenses, there is no legal way for cardholders to purchase low-THC cannabis oil in Georgia. The result of this incomplete medical cannabis program is that cardholders are in a confusing grey area where they can legally possess, but not legally purchase, low-THC oil. Regardless of whether you have a medical cannabis card in Georgia, you can still get a cannabis DUI charge.
If Police Suspect Cannabis DUI in Georgia
Police will need probable cause to pull you over for driving under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or other substances. Probable causes could include involvement in an accident, swerving, parking in the middle of the road, or disobeying traffic signs.
Implied consent is the concept under the law that by performing the act of driving, a driver automatically consents to a DUI inspection, including alcohol and THC testing. If a driver refuses a DUI inspection, it could be used against them in court if they are charged with a cannabis DUI.
Police inspection for DUI can involve multiple tests, including:
- Breathalyzer test for alcohol to determine blood alcohol content (BAC)
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, which involves following a moving object with your eye where the officer checks for eye movement patterns that may indicate impairment
- Physical tests such as walking in a straight line or standing on one leg
- Blood, urine or saliva testing for alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs
Cannabis blood or urine tests seek THC or THC metabolites. Unlike alcohol, cannabis drug tests do not accurately predict the level of current impairment. Results depend on how long ago you consumed cannabis, how much cannabis you consumed, and individual differences in how fast cannabis passes through your system.
Georgia uses specially trained police officers called Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) to determine impairment, and sometimes officers will call a DRE to the scene. DREs complete a 240-hour training with the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. Their training teaches them to recognize impairment through physiological, mental, and physical evaluations.
Georgia police can conduct DUI checkpoints if they meet specific requirements. They must be approved in advance, clearly marked, and minimize traffic disruptions. Random checks are not allowed under the law, so police at a Georgia DUI checkpoint must check every driver that passes through.
How To Protect Against a Cannabis DUI Charge in Georgia
A cannabis DUI arrest or cannabis DUI charge in Georgia is expensive, and the laws are constantly changing. Cannabis DUI charges disproportionately impact people without the financial resources to defend themselves and access legal defense. That is why it is crucial to consume responsibly, know the facts, and have a proactive legal plan.
Cannabis consumers must understand their rights as drivers. You deserve quality representation in the event of facing cannabis DUI charges. At reepher, we help cover these and related costs.