Where Do We Go From Here?
Many Georgia citizens are wondering where to go to redress their grievances over oppressive marijuana laws. Many have been to the Gold Dome, to Washington D.C., to New York to visit the U.N. trying to influence legislation, all to no avail.
Now we are trying to have a rational discussion with City Councils across Georgia, as this seems to be the only legal avenue afforded us.
Peachtree NORML supporters also recently began expressing their discontent on Official Law Enforcement Facebook pages’ “brag” posts about marijuana arrests. This course of action is a way for activists to inform and educate others while standing up for what they believe.
It seems local Sheriff’s departments are not happy with our decision to use our First Amendment right and they may be on the hunt to shut us up.
An Activist Oppressed
Meet Skip and Ginny Eckartz. Skip is a 61-year-old, retired Charter Sea Captain, an Air Force Veteran who has been an advocate of cannabis legalization for over 40 years. Skip got involved in the Athens/Clarke County Peachtree NORML meetings and recently stepped up to lead the reform movement there, working in tandem with those already working with the Athens City Council; Students for Sensible Drug Policy U.G.A. and Athens CARE.
This week Skip and Ginny were inside their home in Dewey Rose, Georgia when they heard what sounded like a swarm of bees. They walked outside to investigate and found themselves face to face with a drone flying directly overhead. The drone took off and left their property. Several hours later they were in handcuffs in the backseat of an Elbert County squad car. (More details will be forthcoming)
Skip has been very vocal in our efforts to let these Sheriffs and Police Departments know how we feel. He is not a “ranter”. There are no "F*** The Police" statements. His comments are well thought out and present evidence to back up what he says. I can't help but think Skip and Ginny were targeted for political reasons. These Sheriffs talk to each other and they are upset that they are being criticized, though most comments are actually criticizing the law. It has happened in almost every State when public opinion turns against prohibition and the Prohibitionists realize they are losing their grip. North Carolina and Florida activists are experiencing the same thing now.
We will keep you posted about Skip and Ginny. They are some of the most respectable, polite, loving individuals I’ve met and they asked us to tell each of you how thankful they both are for all the thoughts, prayers, well wishes and offers of help. As soon as their needs have been assessed we will update you on where and how to help. The fight is real.
A Changing Tide
In 2014 Peachtree NORML commissioned a Georgia poll with Public Policy Polling. You can view the poll under the “Important Links” section of this site. 62% of those polled wanted arrests for marijuana to end. The latest poll numbers in Georgia show that 80+% think cannabis should be Legal for Medical Patients. Public opinion is in favor of some form of legalization. Yet here we are, two and a half years after our first polling, and Georgia has only managed to craft a law that is putting sick and disabled citizens at more risk of being arrested than before that law was passed.
That law was HB1, The Haleigh’s Hope Act. This law is not really a medical marijuana law. It is a CBD/Low THC oil law. When HB1 finally passed without a provision for safe, in-state access to cannabis products, I called on Governor Deal to decriminalize the cannabis plant, in order to protect patients. The Governor points to the DEA and the Feds and claimed his hands were tied; somewhat confusing to me as he has gone against the Feds on other legislation that suits his liking. The result is patients are forced to the black market, finding medicine anywhere they can. Safe access is far from reality and as long as we continue fighting year after year for scraps from the table of our elected officials, patients will continue to be arrested and advocates fighting for them will continue to be targets.
Peachtree NORML volunteers have received call after call over the last year from Georgia citizens and Medical Marijuana patients from other states traveling through Georgia. Over the past month the calls have been coming in daily. Thousands of Georgians are being arrested under the draconian marijuana laws. While 25 states have legalized cannabis for medical use and in 4 states it is legal for adult consumption, Georgia patients still have no protection and it would seem they are now targets for prosecution.
DEA refusal to move
Last week the DEA refused to reschedule cannabis. Continuing the arrests is their “golden egg” and they won't give it up without a fight. It seems they will hold patients hostage while the FDA and Big Pharma figure out how to best profit from legalization. Read more on their decision at https://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2016/hq081116.shtml
Patients and advocates from around the country have begun a campaign called "Talk to the Hand" to call attention to the hypocrisy of the DEA's decision considering the patent that the US government holds on the cannabis plant as a medicine. Google US Patent 6630507
In an interview with Atlanta Progressive News I stated, “To continue with prohibition is putting a lot of people in jeopardy as law enforcement continues to arrest medical patients. Marijuana Prohibition is their bread and butter, because there are not that many people on hard drugs.”
Read the full article here: http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/2016/08/19/georgians-outraged-by-dea-decision-not-to-reschedule-cannabis/
We are not alone and we are not going away. Every time someone gets arrested another advocate/activist is born. The numbers are growing daily. Stay strong. #whenwearetalkingwearewinning.