Fulton County and Atlanta are proving themselves to be leaders in Georgia when it comes to taking common sense actions regarding the health and well-being of their citizens. In a bold action, Fulton County has announced they will be suing companies that make and distribute opiates. Just this month in another bold move Atlanta passed legislation aimed at reducing penalties and the collateral damage associated with arrests for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.
Data from the Georgia Department of Public Health, released in a White Paper by SARA claimed that in 2014 drug overdose deaths exceeded traffics fatalities in Georgia (1274 to 1219) and that in 2015 they nearly equaled traffic fatalities (1307 to 1345). 68 percent of those overdose deaths were due to opioid overdoses including heroin. 0% of those overdose deaths were attributed to marijuana.
Meanwhile, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2014 concluded: “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate”.
Marijuana (properly Cannabis) is proving to be an exit from opioid addiction. The only “gateway” involved with marijuana is to the Criminal Justice System.
We at Peachtree NORML are hopeful that as Fulton County works to combat the opioid epidemic and Atlanta works to establish a more rational approach to arrests for personal use marijuana, the old rhetoric of marijuana being harmful will continue to be proven false. 30 States and the District of Columbia have proven that rhetoric to be lies.
Peachtree NORML and other advocacy groups are working with lawmakers to improve Georgia’s very weak CBD/low-THC cannabidiol law and to reform our Draconic marijuana laws. We applaud Fulton County, the City of Clarkston and the City of Atlanta for their efforts in improving the health, well-being, and quality of life of their citizens.
It’s time for the General Assembly of Georgia to do the same. Substance Abuse Research Alliance (SARA), Georgia Prevention Project, Prescription Opioids and Heroin Epidemic in Georgia  JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(10):1668-1673. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.4005