Although Georgia lawmakers have fought tooth and nail over the past several years to prevent any real level of marijuana reform from gracing the state, this political inaction is not representative of the voters. In fact, as Georgia officials continue to tea bagging patients with a so-called medical marijuana program — a measly law that gives people with specific conditions the right to use the herb without providing them with a source to obtain it — an angry mob has formed on the sidelines of this broken system and they are demanding the walls of marijuana prohibition to be torn down once and for all.
A recent poll from 11Alive News suggests that Georgia taxpayers are now standing at the gates of governmental control with a sign that reads: Legalize Marijuana Now. An impressive 55 percent of the population now stands in favor of legalizing weed in a manner similar to what is happening in states like Colorado and California. Only 35 percent said they do not think cannabis should be legitimized in the same way as alcohol and tobacco.
The poll represents more support than just two years ago, when only 48 percent of the population declared their devotion to the doobie. By all accounts, Georgia voters are more than ready to be given the freedom to consume marijuana without the risk of legal woes.
But lawmakers have not even been able to wrap their heads around the concept of allowing the cultivation and distribution of non-intoxicating cannabis oil, much less selling weed to adults 21 and over in a retail setting.
Several years ago, Georgia legalized the possession of low-THC cannabis extracts for patients with a handful of serious health conditions, but it did this without giving them a safe way to get their hands on this medicine without going full-blown outlaw.
This program really only creates the illusion of legal, forcing people to travel to legal states and bring the oil back home. But since federal law still prohibits the possession of any substance derived from the cannabis plant, anyone caught smuggling this medicine into Georgia runs the risk of getting slapped with a drug trafficking charge. Depending on the circumstances, a bust like this can come with some serious prison time.
Nevertheless, the state continues to add qualified conditions to its rickety medical marijuana program without providing patients with legal access. In fact, Governor Nathan Deal just signed a bill, giving patients with PTSD and intractable pain the freedom to go up against the watchful eyes of Uncle Sam’s drug enforcement goons for cannabis oil. It is a lunatic program, at best. And the citizens want to see some change.
The poll finds that 71 percent of the population is in favor of establishing a functional medical marijuana program — one that doesn’t force patients to break federal law. Only 16 percent is opposed to growing medical marijuana in the state of Georgia.
Unfortunately, the voters are nearly helpless in the fight to reform the state’s antiquated pot laws. Georgia does not have a ballot initiative system in place that allows the voters to decide on policy changes. And since the majority of the State Legislature is still busy sucking on conservative values and bible verses, there is not much hope that weed is going legal anytime soon.
Some local jurisdictions, like Atlanta, have moved to decriminalize marijuana as a means for controlling the racial disparity that typically goes along with pot arrests. The offense is now handled with a small fine.
But until the law changes at the state level, most cannabis users can still catch a lot of heat if they come face-to-face with a cop. Under the current state law, possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense, punishable with up to a year in jail and fines reaching $1,000. Possession of more than an ounce enters felonious territory — a criminal act that can get a person tossed in a state penitentiary for up to 10 years.
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