Despite being one of the most conservative states in the union, Georgia has one of the highest marijuana usage rates. A 2019 research conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration placed Georgia 12th nationally for marijuana use among adults 12 years of age and older during the previous month. However, where do Georgians smoke and where do they obtain their marijuana?
The Legal Status of Cannabis in Georgia
Georgia has some of the toughest anti-drug laws in the nation, making it illegal to use cannabis recreationally. More than one ounce of marijuana can land a person in jail for up to ten years and cost $5,000 in fines. Depending on the county, even possessing less than an ounce might result in a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
Nonetheless, there have been some initiatives to change Georgia’s cannabis legislation, particularly with regard to medical use. The state allowed the use of low-THC cannabis oil in 2015 for patients who met certain eligibility requirements, including multiple sclerosis, cancer, and epilepsy. But the law left patients in a legal limbo, with no legitimate means for them to access the oil. A bill allowing the production and distribution of medical cannabis oil was passed by the state in 2019, however the program has been delayed due to legal and regulatory obstacles.
The Weed Smoking Capital of Georgia
Georgia has a high rate of cannabis consumption, particularly in the cities, despite the severe legal consequences. Atlanta is the marijuana smoking capital of Georgia, with 11.5% of the population admitting to consuming marijuana in the previous year, according to a 2018 survey by the online real estate business Zillow. According to the survey, the biggest proportion of house listings using cannabis-related phrases, such “420 friendly,” “pot friendly,” or “cannabis friendly,” was found in Atlanta.
But Georgians do not just enjoy their marijuana in Atlanta. A 2020 survey conducted by the online cannabis marketplace Verilife found that Savannah is actually the marijuana smoking capital of Georgia, with 15.7% of the population reporting marijuana use in the previous month. Based on variables like legality, accessibility, cost, and societal acceptance, the survey also placed Savannah as the tenth most cannabis-friendly city in the US.
Savannah is renowned for its rich cultural diversity, historic charm, and creative flare. Additionally, it hosts one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day events globally, drawing thousands of tourists each year. Given that Savannah has a more laid-back and accepting cannabis culture than other Georgian cities, some of these tourists might be lured to it. In contrast to 141 arrests during the same period in 2018, the Savannah Police Department only issued 19 citations for marijuana possession in the first half of 2019, according to a 2019 report published in the Savannah Morning News. According to the research, the decrease was caused by a new policy that granted police the authority to cite people rather than arrest them for possessing minor amounts of marijuana.
Georgia has a contradictory attitude on marijuana. On the one hand, cannabis usage for recreational purposes is prohibited, and it has some of the strictest anti-drug laws in the nation. However, cannabis consumption is very common there, and many of its cities are well-known for having a cannabis-friendly atmosphere. Savannah, which blends history, variety, and innovation with a laid-back attitude toward marijuana, is known as the capital of marijuana smoking in Georgia. You might be surprised to learn that Savannah is home to some of Georgia’s greatest cannabis.