AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - On Tuesday, Aug. 20, the Richmond County Commission voted unanimously to pass new proposed marijuana regulations in the county.
The new regulations will reduce the punishment for being caught with less than 1 ounce of marijuana. Currently, a person could be fined up to $1,000 and spend 60 days in jail. Under the new regulation, the fee will be reduced to $150 for the first 2 offenses and $300 for every offense after.
Local lawmakers say it’ll help with the crisis going on between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is legal, marijuana is not. Both contain THC but the GBI’s current testing capabilities can’t distinguish between the two.
“Not to encourage and promote marijuana use but to release resources from the jail, and taking up jail space from people we know really need to go to jail," said Richmond County Solicitor General Omeeka Loggins.
The new regulations will now go to the City Attorney, who will draft changes to the official ordinance. The Commission will meet again next week to vote on those changes.
Georgia State Senator Harold Jones said, “But let’s don’t forget, it can still be written under the state ordinance: the state law. The state law says that you can have 12 months confinement and up to 1,000 fine. So it’s actually discretionary on how the ticket is written, how the charge is written."
In other words, you can still get arrested for the same offense under state law, regardless of the updated county ordinance.