Georgia is one of the most conservative states in the United States, but it is also one of the states with the highest weed consumption. According to a 2019 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Georgia ranked 12th in the nation for past-month marijuana use among people aged 12 and older. But where do Georgians get their weed from, and where do they smoke it?
The Legal Status of Cannabis in Georgia
Cannabis is illegal for recreational use in Georgia, and the state has some of the strictest anti-drug laws in the country. Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana can result in up to 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Even possession of less than one ounce can lead to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, depending on the county.
However, there have been some efforts to reform the cannabis laws in Georgia, especially for medical purposes. In 2015, the state legalized the use of low-THC cannabis oil for patients with certain qualifying conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. However, the law did not provide a legal way for patients to obtain the oil, leaving them in a legal limbo. In 2019, the state passed a bill that allowed for the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis oil, but the program has been delayed by regulatory hurdles and legal challenges.
The Weed Smoking Capital of Georgia
Despite the harsh legal penalties, cannabis consumption is widespread in Georgia, especially in the urban areas. According to a 2018 report by the online real estate company Zillow, Atlanta was the weed smoking capital of Georgia, with 11.5% of the population admitting to using marijuana in the past year. The report also found that Atlanta had the highest percentage of home listings that mentioned cannabis-related terms, such as “420 friendly”, “pot friendly”, or “cannabis friendly”.
However, Atlanta is not the only place where Georgians enjoy their weed. According to a 2020 study by the online cannabis marketplace Verilife, the weed smoking capital of Georgia is actually Savannah, with 15.7% of the population reporting past-month marijuana use. The study also ranked Savannah as the 10th most cannabis-friendly city in the United States, based on factors such as legal status, availability, affordability, and social acceptance.
Savannah is known for its historic charm, cultural diversity, and artistic flair. It is also home to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the world, which attracts thousands of visitors every year. Some of these visitors may be drawn to Savannah’s cannabis culture, which is more relaxed and tolerant than other parts of Georgia. According to a 2019 report by the Savannah Morning News, the Savannah Police Department issued only 19 citations for marijuana possession in the first six months of the year, compared to 141 arrests in the same period in 2018. The report attributed the decline to a new policy that gave officers the discretion to issue citations instead of making arrests for small amounts of marijuana.
Georgia is a state with a paradoxical relationship with cannabis. On one hand, it has some of the harshest anti-drug laws in the country, and cannabis is illegal for recreational use. On the other hand, it has a high rate of cannabis consumption, and some of its cities are known for their cannabis-friendly culture. Georgia’s weed smoking capital is Savannah, a city that combines history, diversity, and creativity with a relaxed attitude towards marijuana. Savannah may be where you least expect it, but it is also where you may find the best weed in Georgia.