Georgia’s Plan to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Plan Crafted For Georgia – Activists Offer Up Comprehensive Plan

Atlanta GA: Today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign legislation making Illinois the 20th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. Meanwhile, Georgia activists say they want Georgia to be the next state to consider reform legislation and have published a report on how to achieve their goals.

James Bell, director for Georgia Campaign for Access, Reform & Education (Georgia C.A.R.E.), said Georgia is ready to consider historic legislation allowing for medical marijuana.

In a seven page report (A Guide to Enacting Medical Marijuana in Georgia)Georgia CARE outlines the steps Georgia must take to remove criminal penalties, allow doctors to recommend therapeutic use and provide for a legal and safe source of medical marijuana.

“We believe the people of Georgia will support our efforts to allow patients with serious medical conditions to use marijuana under doctor’s supervision. We’re ready to take our plan to state lawmakers”, Bell said. “In 1980 Georgia was one of the first states in the nation to pass a compassionate medical marijuana law. We believe Georgia lawmakers are no less compassionate today. We should not treat patients like criminals.”

From the report: Four key principles for effective Georgia medical marijuana laws

  1. Define what is a legitimate medical use of marijuana by requiring a person who seeks legal protection to (a) have a medical condition that is sufficiently serious or debilitating, and (b) have the approval of his or her medical practitioner;
  2. Avoid provisions that would require physicians or government employees to violate federal law in order for patients to legally use medical marijuana;
  3. Provide at least one of the following means of obtaining marijuana, preferably all three: (a) permit patients to cultivate their own marijuana; (b) permit primary caregivers to cultivate marijuana on behalf of patients; and (c) authorize nongovernmental organizations to cultivate and distribute marijuana to patients and their primary caregivers.
  4. Implement a series of sensible restrictions, such as prohibiting patients and providers from possessing large quantities of marijuana, prohibiting driving while under the influence of marijuana, and so forth.

Georgia CARE is working with a diverse coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to educating the public, media and legislators concerning the medical marijuana issue.

Georgia CARE is seeking legislative sponsorship for the 2014 legislative session and is planning a symposium on Cannabis Therapeutics at EmoryUniversity in January 2014.

News Release: Marijuana Prohibition A Failure – ACLU Report Confirms

ACLU report on marijuana prohibition confirms failure in “Black and White”

Atlanta GA: June 6, 2013 – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has just released a sobering report on the impact of marijuana prohibition and concluded the policy of arresting citizens for possession has been a huge failure.  Furthermore, the ACLU has called for an end to marijuana prohibition.

The report, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White”, is the first of its kind. They reviewed a decade of data on marijuana arrests and found that between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8 million marijuana arrests in the United States, 88% of which were for possession. Marijuana arrests have increased between 2001 and 2010 and now account for over half (52%) of all drug arrests in the United States, and marijuana possession arrests account for nearly half (46%) of all drug arrests. In 2010, there was one marijuana arrest every 37 seconds, and states spent combined over $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws. The report also finds that, on average, a Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates.

Not only has prohibition caused racial injustice, it has cost taxpayers billions of dollars that could have been used to truly address the issues of drug abuse and crime.http://www.aclu.org/billions-dollars-wasted-racially-biased-arrests

Georgia CARE (Campaign for Access, Reform & Education) is working to reform Georgia’s draconian marijuana laws and has called on the Georgia General Assembly to introduce legislation allowing medical use of marijuana as well as decriminalization measures.

“The report confirms what advocates for reform have been saying for decades. Marijuana law enforcement does more harm than the plant itself”, said James Bell director of Georgia CARE.  “We can no longer ignore the impact of prohibition. We must change these laws and stop arresting otherwise law abiding citizens. “

Georgia CARE will continue building a reform coalition and a lobbying campaign this summer and plans to introduce reform legislation in the 2014 legislative session.

Obama Says No To Legalizing Marijuana

“I’ve been asked, and I honestly do not believe that legalizing drugs is the answer,” the president told a large gathering of young Mexicans at the city’s Anthropology Museum.

Polls show that more and more Americans favor ending the federal ban on pot. A handful of states in the U.S. have lifted legal restrictions on the drug in recent years — including Colorado and Washington — putting Obama in an awkward place. A pot smoker in his younger days, he must decide whether to instruct his Department of Justice to challenge those state laws, or to simply let them be.

The president likely felt it necessary to touch on drugs in his speech today since marijuana is a chief import from Mexico to the United States. It is also largely to blame for the rising swell of cartel violence that has killed thousands in Mexico over the years, and has occasionally spilled over into the southern U.S.

Obama said that his administration must focus on an all-encompassing strategy to deal with drug users at home, as well as figure out a way to reduce demand for drugs.

“We understand that much of the root cause of violence that’s been happening here in Mexico, for which many so Mexicans have suffered, is the demand for illegal drugs in the United States. And so we’ve got to continue to make progress on that front.”

He added that fixing the problem will require “a comprehensive approach — not just law enforcement, but education and prevention and treatment.”

Those words reflect the latest plan put forth by Obama’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, which essentially considers recreational drug use to be a public health issue. Rather than advocating for reforming drug users through jails and prisons, the plan calls for blending strong prevention techniques with effective rehabilitation programs in order to curb future drug use.

The Obama administration’s strategy, though, is somewhat controversial since it technically defines regular pot users as people with brain diseases — addiction, the administration says, is a brain disease. Scores of marijuana defenders, however, say that there is no proof that the drug is addictive.