Competing Marijuana Legalization Bills Show Georgia is in Play

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Georgia legalizing marijuana

Ask anyone who has grown up or spent any time in Georgia and they will tell you that this state will likely be one of the last to legalize marijuana. In a state that’s home to over 10,000 churches and a very conservative base, Georgia will never, ever make marijuana available for its citizens in any form.

Wrong.

Representative Allen Peake Introduces CBD Bill

On Monday, November 17, State Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) showed up to the Gold Dome early in order to pre-file his medical marijuana legislation. Known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act, the bill received the coveted “House Bill 1” designation, showing a serious commitment by politicians to make medical marijuana available in some form to sick Georgians.

HB 1 will make legal medical marijuana extracts that are high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) available for a select number of sick Georgians. HB1 is very similar to last year’s HB 885, which failed at the last minute due to political wrangling. The difference is this year’s bill will list conditions other than epilepsy, such as cancer and glaucoma, despite the fact that most scientific research points to THC as the active ingredient in cannabis that can do the most good for these additional conditions.

House Bill 1, also known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act, will be formally introduced during the 2015 legislative session and would provide for the regulated use of medical cannabis to treat certain medical conditions. The bill would only allow for the use of non-smoking medical cannabis, in the form of liquid, pill, or injection, and the bill explicitly states that the intent is not to legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. Under HB 1, only certain, registered patients would have access to the treatment, and it would only be dispensed by licensed, registered entities within the state. HB 1 would provide for a safe, effective, timely, tightly regulated, and secure infrastructure with strict state oversight for medical cannabis, which would contain a very low amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Additionally, the bill would decriminalize the possession of medical cannabis oil in Georgia for those patients who legally obtained the medicine in another state. Lastly, the bill states that the General Assembly would create a strict regulatory system around the medicine’s production that satisfies the recommendations of the U.S. Justice Department.

Sen. Curt Thompson Introduces Two Marijuana Bills

Competing with Rep. Peake’s House bill is Senate Bill 7, also known as the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Relief Act,  which would make it legal for physicians in Georgia to recommend up to two ounces of medical marijuana for patients suffering from covered conditions. And while HB 1 will only allow miniscule amounts of THC, SB 7 sets no such restrictions.

Covered conditions under Senate Bill 7

When pre-filled, Senate Bill 7 included the following qualifying conditions in order to obtain medical marijuana in Georgia:

Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/Aids, Hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, wasting (Cachexia), severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures and Multiple Sclerosis.

“While I adamantly support cannabis oil treatments for children with severe medical problems, I believe physicians should have the ability to care for all of their patients, regardless of age,” Sen. Thompson said in a press release.

In addition to Senate Bill 7, Sen. Thompson has also pre-filed Senate Resolution 6, which would add a Colorado-style amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would legalize and tax marijuana for adult recreational use. Though the chance of SR 6 passing the Georgia Senate is probably akin to what we around here call “slim to none”,  Sen. Thompson admits the resolution is being introduced to “start a discussion” on the possible economic impact if Georgia were to legalize recreational marijuana. And the impact could be huge indeed if you consider the experience of states like Colorado, where the State is poised to provide a $30 million TAX REFUND to taxpayers due to an excess in marijuana tax revenue.

Taking a stand for Georgia

No matter the outcome of what is sure to be an interesting legislative session in 2015, Peachtree NORML will be there to take a stand with Georgians who are sick and tired of the failed, TRILLION-DOLLAR waste of money known as the War on Drugs. We stand poised to make a real difference in people’s lives in the upcoming session and we need your support. Here are some ways you can get involved right now:

  • Become a member of Peachtree NORML
    Our driving force is our core membership, which stretches from Tennessee to Florida. Peachtree NORML members meet regularly in order to organize, strategize and socialize. Join today!
  • Make a donation
    Peachtree NORML is a volunteer-led organization that depends on the generosity of our supporters to promote the message of cannabis law reform in Georgia. We are also designated as a not-for-profit organization and have filed paperwork to obtain 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. Donate here.
  • Volunteer your time
    As an all-volunteer organization Peachtree NORML could not function without the thousands of hours per year donated by our members and supporters. If you have a skill or service you think could be of benefit to the cause please let us know. Contact us to volunteer today.
  • Share your anonymous marijuana testimonial
    In order to make a change we have to show our lawmakers how cannabis prohibition negatively affects the lives of Georgians. We do this by showing them testimonials submitted by Georgia medical marijuana patients and others who are criminalized and marginalized by the failed drug war. Send us your testimonial.
  • Become a Partner or Sponsor
    Do you have cash or resources you or your business want to apply towards cannabis law reform in Georgia? Then you’re not alone. Check out our Partner’s page to see who else is supporting our cause.

Additional Information

Stephen Bradley
Stephen Bradley is a medical marijuana activist and business owner from Georgia. Stephen writes for several cannabis-related blogs and magazines and lends his marketing expertise to organizations like Peachtree NORML in their fight for cannabis law reform.

18 comments

  • This might sound silly, but does the general public get to vote on this, or is it just some kind of secret committee or something full of angry seniors?

    • We do not have direct ballot access in Georgia. Politicians here are fearful and distrustful of the electorate therefore they keep the power in their hands.

      • Thanks, Rick. I figured as much. Although in this instance I would support the public having the chance to vote on it officially here in GA, even so, I still sympathize with the potential dangers of an undiluted democratic framework.

        The problem with democracy is it tends to drift by majority rule. In fact, ironically enough, it is because of historical disinformation and the resulting reactionary fears of a resounding public which ultimately proposed the initial legislation that would become the longest, most expensive, futile war ever waged upon our nation. #drugwar

        PS: Wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to include links here, because it may be regarded as spam. But I do have a suggestion for further reading I believe is relevant. I pasted the URL into the “website” box below.

        Presumably, it will link my pseudo name at the top of this comment directly to the article URL I enclosed. In case I’m wrong, just Google it. The article was written by Sam Harris, and the article is called “” Drugs and the Meaning of Life .””

    • The war on marijuana is a socialistic agenda designed to force senior citizens to choose between medicine, heat, food, or housing.

  • Genesis 1:11-12,29 King James Version (KJV)
    11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
    12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.God said marijuana is good and that is good enough for me!! Smoke on!!

  • So will there be any rally planned at the dome?

  • And yet they want to lower the drinking age ….

  • Sent to everyone! District Attorneys, Attorney General, legislators, media, etc.

    Under the Georgia Open Records Act § 50.18.70 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records that describe your response to the Executive Order signed by Governor Nathan Deal on March 27, 2015, requesting “any other state agencies involved in the implementation of the Haleigh’s Hope Act shall immediately and without delay commence efforts necessary to execute the requirements of this act.”

    Specifically:

    Records pertaining to the status of Georgia prisoners incarcerated under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act using the presumption that marijuana has no medical use as to whether or not they will be entitled to a retrial or release since marijuana will be officially recognized in Georgia as having medical use;

    Records pertaining to whether prevention of the listed ailments in Haleigh’s Hope Act as prescribed by a doctor would be recognized by law enforcement; and

    Records pertaining to whether or not the RICO Act could be applied to government servants who engage in racketeering and conspiracy to use Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act to put Georgians in prison knowing that marijuana does in fact have medical use. United States v. Thompson, 669 F.2d 1143 (6th Cir), revd 685 F.2d 993 (6th Cir. 1982)(en banc), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1072 (1983)

    If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me if the cost will exceed $250.00. However, I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and has been requested by the governor.This information is not being sought for commercial purposes.

    The Georgia Open Records Act requires a response time within three business days. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than thirty days, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.

    If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.

    Thank you for considering my request.

    Sincerely,

  • They just need to go on ahead legalize marijuana. It would actually create more jobs In sure feild as transportation, agriculture, distribution, pharmaceuticals, and there will be more room in our jails for actual criminals. An statistically 3 out of 4 marijuana related crimes are possession under an ounce. Stop taking pot heads and turning them into harden criminals for smoking.

    • just go ahead and pass the law. if the FDA can wright prescriptions that in one month you will be hooked (oxyicotin) and when you run out its the most sick you will ever be until you get more. you will wind up wearing depends because you will soil yourself can not sleep. its worse than any hell you can think of. when I smoked pot and ran out, I did not get sick, did not want to rob, rape or steal and then crime rate will change.

  • From my point of view of this whole situation is i see no harsh reality out of legalizing marijuana.when have you ever heard of someone dying from use of marijuana?when there has been more deaths from alcohol and pills and the goverment still allows it to be overlooked but still people get criticized and incarcerated for use of marijuana legalize it, Tax it,enjoy,and relax.

    • Exactly! I don’t really understand the nay sayers. Like the previous poster said, it will bring more jobs too, so it’s a win-win. Like Jose Gonzalez, I too write to gov’t officials but haven’t gotten anything great back yet. I have seen a lot of people at rallys with these legalize shirts from http://www.potteez.com, so I think I need to get one for the next events.

  • haha….as an *angry senior* (and an old hippie) i would LOVE to see marijuana legalized for recreational use….in my past party life, i don’t ever remember anyone high on pot going out and committing heinous crimes….more like *i got the munchies, man*…..think of all the jobs created, and the taxes collected!!! of course, if they legalize it, all us old hippies who have gardens will just add an extra row or two to make room for maryjane to move in!!!

  • This is one of the oddest, nonsensical debates that has ever existed in human history. Persecuting marijuana use, yet promoting alcohol as the socially acceptable pro-american intoxicant. It makes no sense, and continues to frustrate me that they continue to make this so complicated, when it’s actually very simple.

  • I moved here from Michigan where I had a license for Medical Marijuana. It was more beneficial than narcotic pain relievers and wasn’t addictive. I so wish the state of Georgia would look at the benefits and stop lumping marijuana in with hard core drugs. Just sayin….

  • I’m 72, disabled per the VA and Social Security with glaucoma, herniated disc, and degenerative arthritis. I am going to court in Gwinnett County for possessing 1/3 oz of pot. Plea will be not guilty with a long winded speech that I need it for pain and glaucoma. Gwinnett is as right wing as they come but I’m an old geezer so I’m actually looking forward to giving it a shot.

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