Sandy Springs Patch wants to know your take on legalizing marijuana in Georgia?
A new push to reform Georgia’s drug penalties by Georgia Campaign for Access, Reform & Education kicked off Monday with lawmakers considering criminal justice reform measures.
Also the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance project founded by James Bell and Ron Williams has supported and advocated for law reform for 25 years.
It's the first time in the 25 years Georgia has considered law reform legislation and the time is right to focus on the state’s antiquated marijuana laws, said Bell in a press statement. “We applaud Gov. Nathan Deal and the legislature for their courageous efforts to reform ineffective and costly laws we can no longer afford to sustain,” he added. “Decades of 'get tough on drugs' legislation has cost taxpayer billions and has done little to solve real crime problems.”
The Georgia C.A.R.E. Project’s agenda focused on a four point plan:
- Establish a special study committee to focus specifically on marijuana laws;
- Reschedule the classification of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II or lower
- Modernize Georgia’s medical marijuana access laws to allow for legal medical marijuana by doctor prescription or recommendation;
- Decriminalize a personal use amount to eliminate prosecution and incarceration
Ron Williams, a reform activist, said 18 states have allowed medical marijuana and two state have now legalized personal use amounts. “Those states have led the way to show that we can decriminalize and medicalize marijuana and bring this substance under regulation and control without affecting public safety and save taxpayers dollars," he said. "It’s time to focus on this issue.”
The campaign has set up an educational website.
Earlier this month, a crowd of hundreds gathered to light up under the Space Needle in Seattle as recreational marijuana use officially became legal in the state of Washington.
A similar scene is likely to unfold on Denver streets, Jan 5th, when Colorado’s marijuana legalization law goes into effect.
In Washington, it is now legal for people to possess up to one ounce of the drug, which is illegal in most states, including Georgia. While the new state law in Washington doesn’t usurp federal laws that criminalize marijuana use, local cops are no longer going to give people age 21 and up a hard time for lighting up in the privacy of their own homes.
Public display at the Space Needle technically remains illegal, but police in that state decided to let it fly on the morning pot smoking became legal there.
News reports say Washington state anticipates the new law will bring millions of dollars into the state’s coffers as regulations begin to go into place.
What's your take? Should Georgia consider decriminalization?