Do you know about these new Georgia laws that went into effect today?

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July 1 is the effective date each year for many new Georgia laws, and this year is no different. While the controversial “heartbeat bill” garnered the bulk of attention and media coverage this year, there were other laws passed that you may not be aware of.

The “heartbeat bill” actually doesn’t go into effect until next year, and isn’t included in this article.

This year’s batch of new laws didn’t see a lot of game-changers like last year’s hands-free law, but there are some significant new laws you probably need to be aware of to keep from inadvertently breaking the law.

Things Y’all Can Do Now:

  • You can now obtain medical marijuana in Georgia. Under the previous marijuana law, Georgians could possess marijuana for medicinal purposes, but could not buy it in the state or transport it here legally. Lawmakers have now paved a way to legally buy medical marijuana without leaving the state, though it could take some time before you’re actually able to do it.
  • You can now use the HOPE scholarship up to 10 years after graduating high school. Prior to today, you only had seven years to take advantage of HOPE.
  • You can now contract directly with your primary care physician for services without running the risk of that type of contract being considered insurance.

Things Y’all Can’t Do:

  • You can’t get married before age 17. Before today, 16-year-olds were free to get married, however as of July 1, 16 is considered too young.
  • If you’re a landlord, you can’t evict a tenant or retaliate against them if they complain about unhealthy conditions. If you do, you’ll owe them a month’s rent plus $500 and legal fees.
  • If your hobby was taking pictures of prisons using a drone, you’re going to need to find a new hobby. The state of Georgia now considers photographing prisons with drones to be illegal. Also, if you’re a large online retail company that might have been dabbling with delivering items to customers via drone, your efforts have also been sidelined. You can’t deliver items using drones now.
  • If you leave your pet or your child in a hot car and a police officer breaks the window in order to rescue them, you cannot sue the cops. They now have legal protections if they break your car window while attempting to save the life of a living creature.
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