Today, 20% of Americans live in a state where marijuana has been legalized as a medicine or for recreational use. Eighteen (18) states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana (Cannabis) laws. Colorado and Washington have passed personal use laws. Georgia unanimously passed a medical marijuana act in 1980. Polls should increasing support for marijuana law reform.
Georgia is currently studying how to reform the criminal justice system and laws to reduce the increasing number of people incarcerated. Georgia has the 4th highest incarceration rate in the nation costing taxpayers over $1 billion each year.
A group has formed to push for marijuana law reform in Georgia. Georgia Campaign for Access, Reform, & Education (Georgia CARE) is asking the state to study marijuana law reform. This author – James Bell – is director of the group.
Learn more about this project at www.gacareproject.com
Press Release - Marijuana Reform Group Sets Legislative Agenda
Atlanta, GA: A group seeking reform of Georgia’s cannabis (marijuana) laws will head to the state capitol on Monday (January 14th) to begin an educational campaign.
James Bell, director of Georgia CARE, said the marijuana reform coalition wants to start a public discussion on the impact marijuana laws have on the criminal justice system and the public.
Bell said with the Georgia General Assembly studying reform of the criminal justice system and criminal sanctions, marijuana law reform should also be considered.
“You can not talk about reducing the prison population and reforming Georgia’s criminal code without considering reforming marijuana laws”, Bell said. “We want lawmakers to take a close look at the impact these laws have on our state. We have sat on this issue for far too long.”
Each year, nearly 40,000 arrests are made for violations of marijuana laws putting a strain on the criminal justice system, wasting tax dollars and diverting law enforcement resources away from more serious offenses.
The first step in reform is to review the medical marijuana law passed unanimously in 1980 by the general assembly, according to Bell. Eighteen (18) states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana measures with no negative impact on public safety.
Georgia CARE Legislative Priorities include:
1. Special Study Committee on Therapeutic Medical Marijuana: Establish a special study committee to examine reforming and expanding Georgia’s medical marijuana laws (O.C.G.A. 43-34-120); allow stakeholder to offer testimony on the issue and make recommendations for legislative reform.
2. Special Study Committee on Marijuana Decriminalization: Study the impact of Georgia’s marijuana laws on the criminal justice system and public safety to make recommendations to the Georgia General Assembly concerning law reform.
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