Gwinnett County Halts Marijuana Case Prosecution


Gwinnett which is the second largest county in Georgia introduced a new Marijuana bill and fell into controversy recently. The senate has recently approved a bill allowing the cultivation of CBD products and Marijuana by farmers. Previously, CBD or Cannabinoid production was largely prohibited in the state as in many states of the US. CBD or Cannabinoid products help in reducing chronic pain and various mental illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, insomnia, anxiety disorder and so on. Considering the need of hundreds of patients suffering from such chronic illnesses, the State has relaxed the law regarding Marijuana, CBD or Hemp.

CBD oil which had long been popular among the citizens in Gwinnett as well as the whole of Georgia was mostly imported from outside of the state. The revised Hemp Farming Act makes it possible for the farmers of the county itself to cultivate Hemp. They are charged 50 dollars per acre for the cultivation. The Governor Brian Kemp has signed another legislature stating that Marijuana production for medical purposed and CBD products which have less than 0.5 percent THC would be legal in the state.

However, there is a debate among the most powerful prosecutors of the Gwinnett County about the possible outcome of the bill on the County’s farmers. Whereas the solicitor general of the County, Brian Whiteside is passing Marijuana cases since May when the Bill was signed, the Police force is also merely assigning tickets for Marijuana cases instead of making arrests. Danny Porter, the Gwinnett District Attorney complains that the Bill has completely omitted what the most suitable way would be for the District Attorney offices to go about cases regarding Marijuana after the Bill has been passed. In the absence of any concrete instruction, Porter has not yet decided what to do with the pending Marijuana cases.

Both Porter and Whiteside have expressed skepticism about the possible outcome of this Bill as anyone can possess Hemp now in the County. Although Hemp has lower level of THC or Tetrahydro Cannabinoid in it, the Police department cannot anymore arrest anyone possessing substance that smells like Hemp or Marijuana. Anyone can get away with possessing Marijuana. Marijuana, as Porter says, is still illegal in the County. But the problem is that the gaps in the Bill now make it impossible for the Police Department to distinguish Marijuana from Hemp. The local Police forces are in possessions of equipment that can only test whether a product has THC or not. They cannot determine the percentage of the THC. Therefore, people abusing Marijuana may get away with it as well.

Pete Skandalakis who is the Executive Director of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council is of the opinion that prosecution on Marijuana cases is now difficult, but it is not impossible. A revised phrasing of the Bill would have definitely helped the process. He suggests that the attorneys have to be more analytical. PAC is meanwhile discussing it with State officials in order to find a remedy of the situation.



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