Possession of marijuana is still prosecuted as a criminal offense in Georgia, despite trends towards legalization in other states. In fact, the only drug possession crime which is a misdemeanor rather than a felony is possession of marijuana less than one ounce. In many courts in the metro Atlanta area and Georgia, a person with no prior arrests on their record is offered "pre-trial diversion" for a misdemeanor marijuana charge. The requirements typically include a program fee of several hundred dollars, community service hours, several drug tests, and an alcohol and drug evaluation and any recommended treatment. The benefit of diversion is that when it is successfully completed, the case is dismissed so that the person charged has no criminal conviction on their record and the arrest record is restricted from the view of third parties like employers and schools.
More and more courts are offering "drug courts" for felony possession of drugs, whether it is marijuana, cocaine, meth, or heroin. These programs require taking responsibility for one's actions and are not appropriate for those who want to fight or litigate their case. Drug court involves a lot of addiction treatment, testing, counseling, and monitoring from the court. The benefit is that it is an alternative to going to jail or prison and is aimed at breaking the addiction cycle. These programs are offered for users and are not offered to people charged with high quantities of drugs who are considered dealers.
If you're charged with possession of a drug in Georgia, please contact me at 678-967-0197 and we can discuss the various options for resolving your individual case.