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Georgia has very strict laws against possessing, distributing, or trafficking in illegal drugs. The penalties can range from a small fine for misdemeanor possession of marijuana to life in prison for trafficking in greater that 400 grams of cocaine.

The Georgia Controlled Substance Act (GCSA) divides drugs into categories or “schedules” based on their potential for abuse and lack of medical usefulness. Schedule I drugs such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, are those with a high potential for abuse and no legitimate medical purpose. Schedule II drugs include cocaine, codeine, methadone, and methamphetamine. Marijuana is not a scheduled drug, but is nonetheless a controlled substance; it is a crime to possess, distribute, or traffic in marijuana, but the penalties are much less severe than for schedule I or II substances.

Our Atlanta Criminal Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Serious Penalties

Penalties for violating the GCSA increase with the dangerousness of the substance as well as with the intent of the person accused regarding the substance:

Penalties are least severe for simply possessing a controlled substance, greater for possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it to others, and still greater for trafficking in – being a merchant of – a controlled substance.


  • Possession of less than an ounce: misdemeanor
  • Intent to Distribute: 1-10 years;
  • Trafficking:
    • 10-2,000 lbs.: 5 years
    • 2,000 lbs. – 10,000 lbs: minimum 7 years
    • Greater than 10,000 lbs: minimum 15 years

Cocaine or Methamphetamine

  • Possession: 2-15 years
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute: 5-30 years
  • Trafficking
    • 28-200 grams: minimum 10 years
    • 200-400 grams: minimum 15 years
    • greater than 400 grams: minimum 25 years

Fines ranging from $100,000 up to $1,000,000 are also allowed for convictions for felony violations of the GCSA.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, such as crack pipes, is also prohibited, as is the distribution of a substance pretending to be a controlled substance (imitation drugs).

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