Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Georgia

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Benefits of Having a Low THC Oil Card in Georgia

A Georgia Low THC Oil Card is essential for any resident of the state with a qualifying condition that can only be treated or managed with THC.

Legal Protection

The Georgia Low THC Oil Card protects the cardholder from arrest for possessing up to 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil. With medical marijuana and recreational marijuana not yet illegal in the state, it is important to have your Low THC Oil Card with you whenever you are in possession of low THC oil products. Possession of marijuana in any form without a valid Low THC Oil Card may lead to an arrest by Georgia law enforcement agents. The possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana is punishable with 12 months in jail and up to $1,000 fine in Georgia.

Patients with valid Low THC Oil Cards are also advised to carry their Georgia-issued ID cards or other government-issued ID cards to verify their identities.

Access for Minors

If you have a Georgia Low THC Oil Card, you do not have to wait till you are 21 or older to access low THC oil within the acceptable limits in the state. Either directly or indirectly through their parents or legal guardians, the state allows minors to access low-THC oil products if they have Georgia Low THC Oil Cards.

Reciprocity

With some states offering medical marijuana reciprocity for patients outside their jurisdictions, you may be able to use a Georgia Low THC Oil Card to purchase medical marijuana in other states where the reciprocity provision is available. Therefore, if you happen to travel outside Georgia, you may still be able to access THC products to continue the treatment of a qualifying medical condition.

Downsides of Getting a Low THC Oil Card in Georgia

You may lose your gun rights and other federal benefits if you have a Georgia Low THC Oil Card. You may also face driving restrictions and potential employment discrimination for holding a Georgia Low THC Oil Card.

Firearm Prohibition

Possessing a Georgia Low THC Oil Card can be considered evidence of marijuana use by federal agencies when determining an individual's marijuana status. Although low THC oil products in Georgia are not allowed to contain more than 5% Delta-9 THC, anyone who uses a controlled substance is considered an unlawful user of marijuana who may not be permitted to possess or purchase firearms. Hence, due to federal laws, possessing a Georgia Low THC Oil Card may lead to the forfeiture of your gun rights, at least for while the card remains valid.

Driving Restrictions

Per Section 40-6-391 of the Georgia Code Annotated, a person is guilty of DUI if the individual operates a motor vehicle with any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance in the person's body. While low-THC oil cardholders can drive, it is risky to drive having used low-THC oil products recently as they may show up on drug tests if such tests are required following a police encounter. In such an instance, possessing and providing a Low THC Oil Card will not protect the offender from arrest. Penalties for first-time offenders convicted of drugged driving in Georgia include:

  • A fine of $300-$1,000
  • Incarceration of 10 days - 12 months (mandatory minimum of 24 hours)
  • Mandatory minimum of 40 hours of community service
  • Probation for 12 months
  • Mandatory participation in a 20-hour risk reduction program

Note that the possession of a Low THC Oil Card may also cause a denial in a commercial driver's license application. CDL applications and processes are governed by federal laws, and these laws consider THC users ineligible to be issued federal licenses.

Annual Renewal

The cost and inconvenience of renewing a Low THC Oil Card is one of the drawbacks of having a Georgia Low THC Oil Card. The card is renewable every 2 years and costs $25 in application fee. However, there are other costs involved in the renewal. Per Georgia law, prior to renewing your Low THC Oil Card, you must schedule an appointment with your physician, who will determine whether you are eligible to continue using low THC oil for the treatment of your qualifying condition. The physician will charge a fee for this consultation, which may range between $50 and $250.

Employment Restrictions

Nothing in the Georgia low THC oil law requires employers in the state to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, or transfer of low THC oil in any form. Also, the law does not affect the ability of an employer to have a written zero-tolerance policy prohibiting the on-duty or off-duty use of marijuana or prohibiting an employee from having a detectable quantity of marijuana in such employee's system while at work.

Therefore, a Georgia employer can drug test employees and terminate them if they do not pass a drug test. Even if the employee has a valid Georgia Low THC Oil Card, they are not protected from termination if the employer decides to terminate them for testing positive for THC.

Federal Prohibitions

Despite low THC oil legalization in Georgia, the fact that THC or marijuana remains illegal federally means that marijuana users may lose their place in federally subsidized housing because of the federal ban on the drug. This is likely to make Georgia low-THC oil users choose between their homes and continuing low-THC oil use for the treatment of their qualifying conditions.

In a 2021 letter addressed to Representative Eleanor Homles-Norton, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) affirmed that the agency would continue to discriminate against marijuana users, including those who use marijuana in compliance with state laws. The agency stated that it would continue to enforce policies that include the termination of the tenancy of any household in situations where a tenant is found to have engaged in the use of marijuana while on the premises. Therefore, possessing a Georgia Low THC Oil Card puts you at the risk of losing your accommodation or making you ineligible to obtain placement in federally subsidized housing. You may also lose your job as a federal employee if you test positive for THC use or are caught possessing a Georgia Low THC Oil Card.

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