AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) -Richmond County State Court Solicitor Omeeka Loggins will dismiss all open misdemeanor marijuana cases dating back to the month of May–until further testing can determine how much of the chemical component is in a persons system.
Hemp carries less than one percent THC oil while illegal marijuana ranges anywhere from 5 to 20% THC.
Current testing methods only test the presence of THC, not the amount.
“Since there is no testing available to do that, it posses a problem for prosecutors to prosecute possession of marijuana cases,” says State Court Solicitor Loggins.
She says her office has 45 open cases and she stands firm in her decision not to follow through. In the end allowing her to focus on things she feels better benefits the city.
“That’s helping me and my office to divert resources to other cases, that I feel the attention and resources such as the DUI’s, domestic violence cases and other battery cases,” says State Court Solicitor Loggins.
The current city ordinance says a person who is charged with marijuana can get up to 60 days in jail or a fine up $1,000.
But because of the current testing issue, Georgia State Senator Harold Jones is pushing to change the ordinance on the city level.
“We proposed no confinement for a person who is older than 21 and then for the first two offenses it would be a fine of $150,” says Georgia State Senator Jones.
It differs for those who are under 21.
“Under 21 will still potentially face 30 days in confinement and the fine will be cap at $500,” says Georgia State Senator Jones.
These changes are to ensure no one gets the easy way out.
“If you had no confinement for someone under 21 and a fine of $150, it would actually be less of penalty for someone who has alcohol under 21. So were just trying to make it a little bit more equal,” says Georgia State Senator Jones.
Loggins says the GBI is set to have a better testing method next month.
If the new test offers stronger results the prosecutions will resume.
Last week Augusta Commission committee members gave the “ok” to lower the fines for those caught with less than an ounce of marijuana.