Legalizing Marijuana: Should Georgia Follow Other States?

The Georgia C.A.R.E. Project will hold a press conference Monday at the Georgia state capitol to announce its agenda regarding Cannabis saying that now is right time to focus on the state’s antiquated marijuana laws.

Dunwoody Patch wants to hear what you think about the idea of legalizing marijuana in Georgia. It's a timely topic, as a new push to reform Georgia’s drug penalties will kick off Monday as lawmakers consider criminal justice reform measures.

The Georgia Campaign for Access, Reform & Education or Ga. C.A.R.E. Project, will host a press conference at the Georgia state capitol Monday at 11 a.m. to announce the campaign’s mission. A project of the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, founders James Bell and Ron Williams have supported and advocated for law reform for 25 years.

Bell said this is 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.

“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”, Bell said. In a news release. “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 will focus on a four point plan to:

  • 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. It’s time to focus on this issue.”

The campaign has set up an educational website and Facebook page to connect with the public, media and lawmakers.

Earlier this month, a crowd of hundreds gathered to light up joints 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 the streets of Denver in a couple of weeks as 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 a joint in the privacy of their own homes. The 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.

Cops in Washington seem to be taking a rather nonchalant approach to the new state rules, too. The Seattle Police Department has issued some interesting directives to its officers.

Police spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee is quoted on the Huffington Post as saying, "The police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a `Lord of the Rings' marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to."

He also quoted the cult classic film "The Big Lebowski": “The Dude abides, and says `take it inside!' "

Colorado’s law goes into effect on Jan. 5. Washington state, the Post says, anticipates the new law will bring millions of dollars into the state’s coffers as regulations begin to go into place.

While lighting up a joint at home – or in public – remains illegal in Georgia, we’d like to hear your thoughts on the issue in Dunwoody.

Do you think our state should look at decriminalization? Does marijuna legalization in other states make it difficult for you to talk to your kids about the subject?

Should the federal government review its own laws? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


About this column: The Dunwoody Patch Question of the Day is an occasional column that features local, state or national news that we want to get Midtown Patch reader's take on.

BurrellJustGotRousted January 07, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Sounds like a personal attack and a violation of Patch TOS regs.
jimmie January 08, 2013 at 01:00 AM
so just forget him..except at the ballot box
Tony January 08, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Thought you'd like to know... On Monday, January 7, Chief Federal Magistrate Maria-Elena James ruled in favor of Harborside Health Center, and denied motions by Harborside's landlords asking the court to order an immediate halt of medical cannabis sales at their properties, setting a FEDERAL precedent *against* landlords refusing leases to dispensaries. Your cheers are the sound of one hand clapping, Jimbo. LOL
jimmie January 09, 2013 at 04:51 AM
Another MD in 2011... What are the psychological and social effects of abusing marijuana? The bad effects of marijuana are numerous. For example, it can impair thinking, as in learning, and memory for several days after each time it is used. That risk seems to be even higher for people who score lower on IQ tests compared to those who score higher. The social effects of smoking marijuana can be quite detrimental as well. Adolescents who use the substance are at higher risk of pregnancy, dropping out of school, delinquency, legal problems, and achieving less educationally and occupationally. Individuals who become dependent on marijuana tend to be less motivated, less happy, or satisfied with their life. They are also at risk for depression and for using larger amounts of alcohol and other drug And I got a 100 of these..for those who want to legalize this garbage, I hope you are the ones it destroys. Beware the perversionists...
jimmie January 09, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Another MD study..not some eurotrash crap on rats from a decade ago...Tony lies and we dies! In terms of how long marijuana tends to stay in your system, it can be detected on drug tests for about two weeks. Like many other chemicals that are ingested, marijuana can affect your body in many ways. It seems to be associated with an increased occurrence of certain cancers. It may also increase the risk of sexual dysfunction; statistics indicate that men who smoke or otherwise consume marijuana regularly are at higher risk of either having premature ejaculation or trouble reaching orgasm. Men and women who use this substance on a regular basis seem to have more sexual partners and to be more at risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases compared to those who do not use marijuana. Marijuana's effects on the body and brain of a developing fetus seem to be clearly negative. Exposure to this substance before birth (prenatally) is associated with negative effects on fetal growth and body weight, as well as on the impulse control, focusing ability, learning, memory, and decision making in the child who was exposed to marijuana before birth. These negative effects by no means only affect babies who are exposed to marijuana before birth (in utero). Marijuana tends to negatively affect learning, judgment, and muscle skills in people who use marijuana by their own volition. Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD on 8/29/2011
Tony January 09, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Found the ONE website you're cutting and pasting from.... AGAIN, plagiarising and not citing your sources. This article was written by Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, a psychiatrist. Been reading reviews of her practice: apparantly, she's not a very good psychiatrist. The article is posted to MedicineNet.com, which is not an acredited research institution. Hehehe. It's NOT a study OR a clinical trial, and only has 17 entries in its bibliography: FOUR are propoganda pieces straight out of the NIDA, one is a newspaper article from the NYT, and ONE is for Webster's Dictionary!!! And oh wow, she's referencing the DSMIV, last revised in 1994... I'm shocked she didn't reference her Facebook page. LOL - You say you have HUNDREDS of these "studies". This wasn't a study. It was a poorly written prop-piece for the NIDA by a woman with a questionable practice that had fewer (and worse) citations than I require my undergrads to have. This "study" of yours isn't published! LMAO Must be why you didn't provide a citation: only published works have citations. Jimbo, it's truly hilarious how you keep googling for your propoganda, how I keep finding it, and ripping it all to shreds.
jimmie January 09, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Yet another "marijuana is good for nothing except getting high and whacking your own health"..by non-biased researchers. Tony lies! The Glaucoma Research Foundation disputes the idea that medical marijuana is good medicine for the disease. "The high dose of marijuana necessary to produce a clinically relevant effect," the foundation's website explains, makes it a poor choice for the treatment of glaucoma, especially given its "significant side effects" and the availability of safer effective drugs. In addition, those who use marijuana to treat mental health symptoms might be surprised to learn that studies show it not only may not help such symptoms, it may cause them. Increased funding for research may lead to a better understanding of the impact cannabis has on our bodies, but for now the claims that the drug is effective in the treatment of multiple disorders as distinct as lupus and anxiety seem far-fetched at best. It seems more likely that for some people, getting high just makes them feel better, the way a drink or two might. You would be shocked, however, if in response to a diagnosis of lupus, your doctor suggested you "take two drinks and call me in the morning." And pot's general ineffectiveness is only part of picture. It is not a neutral substance. Chronic marijuana use is associated with a number of well-documented health problems, including a variety of cancers in adults as well as in children who were exposed to the drug in utero.
Tony January 09, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Cut and paste from the LA Times!!! Another prop-piece written by an "addiction specialist" worried about losing his income source. Yet again, Jimbo, NOT A STUDY. Title: Is marijuana good medicine? Date: July 26, 2012 Author: David Sack David Sack is a psychiatrist and addiction specialist. He is chief executive of Promises Treatment Centers. His specialty, his cash-crop, is cycling "addicts" through his programs for a profit. He wrote an op-ed in a NEWSPAPER to protect his income source. Again, not an acredited research institute or journal publication. And he didn't have the courage to submit any citations for any of the BS claims he's making. Keep it coming, Jimbo. At least you cleaned up your language, although your arguments and sources are still stuff I scrape off my boots. ;-)
jimmie January 09, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Marijuana can be harmful in a number of ways, through immediate effects and through damage to health over time. Marijuana hinders the user’s short-term memory (memory for recent events), and he or she may have trouble handling complex tasks. With the use of more potent varieties of marijuana, even simple tasks can be difficult. Because of the drug’s effects on perceptions and reaction time, users could be involved in auto crashes. Drug users also may become involved in risky sexual behaviors, which could lead to the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. And another, from a fourth different site..only takes about 10 minutes to be flooded with the legit studies...not garbage effects on mice in euro trash zones. Under the influence of marijuana, students may find it hard to study and learn. Young athletes could find their performance is off; timing, movements, and coordination are all affected by THC.
jimmie January 09, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Another NIH study conclusion The short-term effects of marijuana include: loss of motor coordination increased heart rate. distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch) trouble with thinking and problem-solving problems with memory and learning These effects are even greater when other drugs are mixed with the marijuana, and users do not always know what drugs are given to them. Tony lies...and he wants you to live his pathetic, addicted existence...same way all demons work
Tony January 09, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Jimmie, you're not even TRYING anymore. This is a direct cut and paste from the NIDA: Title: How is Marijuana Harmful? From National Institute on Drug Abuse Updated April 20, 2010 The NIDA is the only entity the DEA licenses to cultivate and distribute cannabis for the purpose of conducting research. It's specified in the law that in a free market, it is illegal for only ONE entity to have a monopoly in the manufacture/cultivation/distribution of Schedule I and Schedule 2 substances for the sake of conducting research becauce monopolies are illegal in the United States. The DEA refuses to license anyone else besides the NIDA, and the NIDA will not distribute cannabis for research *UNLESS* the research is trying to prove that cannabis is dangerous. The NIDA is the most biased source of information on cannabis because of their Faustian deal with the DEA. Good thing the DEA is being sued! Oral arguments were given in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals on October 16th, Jimbo. Case #11-1265, ASA vs DEA. If the DEA loses, they'll be ordered by the Federal Government to reschedule cannabis. If it moves to Schedule III, the NIDA will automatically lose their monopoly. Boom goes the dynamite. LOL
Tony January 09, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Actually, Jimbo, that's from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services NIH Publication Number 98-4037, from the year 1998!!! Jimbo didn't even notice that his own cut'n'paste says, right there, SHORT-TERM and nonpermanent. In fact, the same symptoms are listed for alcohol intoxication. Think about that, Jimmie. You should look up some of these other NIH Publications... Specifically, Patent #6630507, filed by the very same U.S. Department of Health and Human Services your *cut'n'paste* is from: The patent, "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants", issued October 2003 reads: “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia." Funny, isn't it Jimbo? The govt patented cannabis as a neuroprotectant? This is one of the arguments given at the rescheduling lawsuit on the 16th. Don't you get tired of being wrong all the time? LOL
jimmie January 10, 2013 at 01:02 AM
As always, no human studies to support benefitting society by legalizing earthly shi- weeds and there demonic supporters
jimmie January 10, 2013 at 11:38 AM
More studies on humans...Tony lies...destruction is his agenda Does research bear that out? "We don't have as good data as we have for alcohol, but the evidence is already clear," said Susan Weiss, policy chief for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Marijuana is not good for you." Frequent, prolonged marijuana use has been linked to depression, psychosis, anxiety, and other mental disorders, especially among teenagers. A decades-long study in New Zealand found that adolescents who used pot at least four times a week lost an average of 8 IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38. Studies suggest that about 9 percent of all users become dependent on marijuana, and that pot smokers have far higher rates of workplace injuries and school absences than non-users. One study of 46,000 Swedish soldiers found that even infrequent pot smokers were more than twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as non-smokers; regular users were six times as likely.
Tony January 10, 2013 at 07:24 PM
LOL -- Upset I keep upstaging you? Aaaand, I take it that you mean the Federal Department of Health and Human Services as well as their subsidiary, the NIH, when you're talking about the "demonic supporters"??? Would those be the demonic supporters you were plagiarising in your post yesterday? BTW, the patent from which I copied the abstract? Full of clinical trials by the NIH. All you need to do is read the bibliography; all citations present and accounted for. But you won't, Jimbo. That would be academically and intellectually *HONEST* and you don't deal in honesty, Jimbo. You don't get a PATENT from the United States Government unless all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Not being a scientist, clinician, or researcher, you probably never had an idea original enough to patent, so I don't fault you for failing to understand that. You are learning disabled, after all. Ha!
Tony January 10, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Copied and pasted from "Is Marijuana Bad For You?" posted to a NEWSPAPER called The Week on November 24th, 2012. Again, not a study or a clinical trial. Just another op-ed; not science. You can tell, because the *rest* of the article is actually balanced. The rest of the paragraph you deliberately and dishonestly OMITTED from your cut'n'paste, Jimbo? Here it is: "...times as likely. Fred Gardner of the California Cannabis Medical Research Group says the National Institute on Drug Abuse "looks for the negative stuff on purpose and disregards anything positive about cannabis." And no study has proved a causal link between marijuana use and neurological disease. So, Jimbo, I gotta tell ya. I really don't mind catching you being dishonest. It feels good to call you a liar and back it up with facts, references, and citations that anybody with a smartphone can verify, themselves. But you have to try harder. You seem to not understand how the internet works and what it's for. You certainly don't understand the difference between a STUDY and an OPEN-EDITORIAL. LOL Disinformation doesn't work anymore. You can't lie to the internet, Jimbo. Let me rephrase that. You can tell all the lies you want, Jimbo. But you won't get away with it. Hahahahahaha.
jimmie January 10, 2013 at 11:14 PM
My sources are all MD's dumba--...yours are the equivalent of pedophiles saying that thoose who haven't tried it are just against it. You're the deceiver Tony. Judgement is coming.
jimmie January 10, 2013 at 11:14 PM
Where are your studies by non-potheads...sorry, get off of Rob and then you can answer
jimmie January 10, 2013 at 11:16 PM
And the ocnclusions would be in 2012, not 1992 dufus..perhaps the cannabis has finally extracted all your reason. I got 60 more of these to post.
jimmie January 10, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Colorado study Tony lies! These stories result from a collaboration between Education News Colorado, Solutions and the I-News Network, three non-profit news websites based in Denver and staffed by professional. But contrary to perceptions among students, doctors say marijuana is especially harmful to kids for two key reasons: First, new research shows adolescence is a crucial time for brain development and marijuana use can permanently change the teen brain. Second, young people who start using marijuana before age 18 are much more likely than adults to become addicted to the drug. “It’s an ironic play of events that use is going up at the same time that the science is coming out about its possible brain toxicity,” said Dr. Chris Thurstone, an adolescent psychiatrist who runs a substance abuse treatment program at Denver Health. “We need to tell people that youth are the most likely to become addicted to marijuana and that when they become addicted, they are at higher risk for every bad outcome a teenager can face.” Doctors interviewed across the spectrum, from vocal marijuana opponents to those who recommend it for patients, agreed that marijuana can be addictive. And the diagnostic bible for health providers, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, lists cannabis abuse and cannabis dependence as possible diagnoses. “There is no debate in the scientific community,” Thurstone said. “It’s physically and mentally addictive.”
jimmie January 10, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Pay attention to the last line tonio...these ain't french rats we're testing..
jimmie January 11, 2013 at 02:46 AM
more results from MDs..not lab rats! Myth 1 – Marijuana is Harmless This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Too many people believe that marijuana is a benign drug and has no real bad affects. However, this is simply not true. Marijuana is anything but harmless. In fact, marijuana use leads to all kinds of problems – from legal, emotional, behavioral, psychological, and cognitive, as well as many health-related issues. Many studies have shown the ill effects associates with marijuana use. For example, studies have shown that marijuana users are more likely to perform poorly in school than non-marijuana users. Other studies have shown substantial deficiencies in math, verbal, and coordination skills for people who frequently abuse marijuana. Marijuana users can subject themselves to the negative affects associated with many hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine. In particular, marijuana abuse disrupts the flow of chemical neurotransmitters in the brain. Frequent use of marijuana leads to burn-out. Other studies have shown that marijuana users are more likely to have depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, and other health problems. Further, and perhaps even most importantly, the use of illicit drugs like marijuana (when not used for medical reasons) puts the user in greater risk of being involved with other criminal activities. Why? Because people using drugs are more likely to make bad decisions, and drug use is invariably tied to violence and crime. .
Jake Spooner June 25, 2013 at 01:34 AM
Test your Faith!!! Read!!! You may never pray to God again!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAURq_ouYLc
Jonathan Ross Charlton August 08, 2013 at 08:58 AM
Consider that medical cannabis is important for some. Here is a story of a little girl whose life may have been saved by it. http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/07/health/charlotte-child-medical-marijuana/index.html Marijuana can be detrimental, in different ways from alcohol for certain - you can die from an alcohol overdose; the effects of cannabis are more psychotropic. Nonetheless, like alcohol, marijuana can be abused. However, our treatment if this abuse should be a medical response as opposed to a criminal one. That is what a compassionate and intelligent society would do (as sending users and abusers to jail does nothing to decrease its abuse, quite the contrary). That notwithstanding, that marijuana can be abused or that some may have religious objections to its use has absolutely no bearing on the advocation for medical or recreational use; consider that it took an Amendment to the Constitution to prohibit alcohol in the United States, and consider the ineffectiveness of that Amendment (resulting in its ultimate Constitutional repeal) to curb alcohol use, the black market that followed, the mafia groups (i.e. Al Capone), and the huge number of citizens placed in jail for simply buying a drink at completely needless expense to the taxpayer. Consider how much more effective 12 step and clinical programs were at dealing with alcoholism and how effective government regulation and taxation has been at dealing with its distribution and revenue generation. Consider too that the mafia was bankrupted by its legalization. Now consider that as a matter if the Constitution, it requires an Amendment (which is greater than a law which is further greater than a regulation) to ban a substance. Currently, cannabis is regulated by the Executive under the protection of the Interstate Commerce Act (still subordinate to Constitutional rights). As Colorado and Washington have completely legalized marijuana and many other states have legalized medical marijuana, the efficacy of applying the Interstate Commerce Act and clause to criminalize marijuana is likely to wane and decay to such a point as to be found Unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. I look forward to that day when we will finally bankrupt the cartels of their black market, regulate the drug, empty our prisons of victimless criminals, and spend the annual $44 Billion allocated to the war on drugs toward drug abuse healthcare.
Crystal Horton Hamilton August 10, 2013 at 02:31 PM
i think georgia should legalize majuaninia because it would hel us get out of debt with our government and other countries. and then people wouldnt have to worry about not getting a job because they smoke. and i think we would still have lease crime.
Joshua Shawn Fricke September 05, 2013 at 02:58 PM
FEDS, Its easier for a minor to buy weed then alcohol because alcohol is regulated. Cross state exportation only matters to states that haven't legalize the use but prefers, somehow, that it would rather let the cartels bank from our youth and to generate revenue from arresting our youth. Finally, someone is going to sell it to the public, Its up to the UNITED States on who that is.
Tony Rizzo September 11, 2013 at 01:27 AM
I live in Leesburg, GA and I was incarcerated for nine months, had to attend rehab and am currently serving three years probation for possession of marijuana less than one ounce (I was caught with residue). Please go ahead and legalize this, if this truly is the land of the free.
seven September 20, 2013 at 05:35 PM
what about people that don't smoke and have friends that do, and I test positive for marihuana, and get incarcerated for that not fair at all. I won't abandon the people I love like family. because I can never force them to not do what they want to do with there lives.
seven September 20, 2013 at 05:37 PM
other states do it might as well legalize for all of the U.S so its fair all around the board
Laura Foxworth March 05, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Honestly it has taken this long...


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