The Chatham County, Georgia district attorney last week said she would no longer prosecute cannabis possession cases dealing with less than one ounce, WTOC-11 reports. Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones said the reforms are necessary as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will not test small amounts of cannabis unless other felony charges are involved.
“Without a verified test, the state cannot prove that the accused violated the law. … Disposing of low-level petty offenses that do not threaten public safety and do not involve a victim allows the state to focus already-limited resources on the serious cases that do.” – Jones, in a statement
Since 2019, prosecutors in other Georgia counties including Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Athens-Clarke, and Augusta-Richmond have made similar announcements, some saying the legalization of hemp has made it hard to determine legal products from illegal, THC-rich products.
Jones said she would still prosecute cases where there is more than an ounce involved, sales, possession around children and in school zones, and in impaired driving cases, the report says.
Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher indicated that his department would continue arresting people for possessing any amount of cannabis due to state and federal laws. Jones’ new policy takes effect immediately.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson told WTOC-11 that the new directive “just makes sense.”
“We have several states in this country that have legalized marijuana use either recreationally or for medicinal purposes,” he said. “And the fact again, for under an ounce, I think is just a waste of public resources.”
Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe