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Question of the Week: Should Marijuana be Legalized?

A Georgia advocacy group is pushing for the re-evaluation of the state's marijuana laws.

Marijuana has been decriminalized in Colorado and Washington state. Should Georgia follow suit?

Georgia Campaign for Access, Reform & Education (Georgia CARE), a project of the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, Inc., seeks to change the state's laws on marijuana, eventually leading to a complete legalization of the drug.

The group claims this would unburden our criminal justice system, which is laden with marijuana-related crimes and arrests.

Georgia CARE has published a "Blueprint to Reform" (attached to this article) that outlines how it perceives marijuana reform and eventual legalization can happen in Georgia.

For example, CARE advocates making marijuana a Schedule II drug and allowing medical prescription of cannabis.

Following this, the state should remove jail time for those caught with less than four ounces of the drug, and release and pardon people currently incarcerated or on parole or probation for a similar offense.

Finally, the group believes Georgia voters would be open to passing a referendum to legalize marijuana and have it taxed federally, similar to the laws now in force in Washington state and Colorado.

What do you think? Should Georgia move to legalize marijuana? Tell us in the comments!

Norman February 25, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Pot smokers never harmed anyone...in fact, they might even help the economy by buying up all the snack foods. Actually, I don't buy all this "medical marijuana" stuff...just another excuse created by smokers to give their product of choice some credibility. In the end, it's probably no worse than all the folks going out for a drink at their local watering hole then driving home.
Chad February 25, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Yes. Marijuana should be regulated in a similar fashion to alcohol and cigarettes. The current policy criminalizes otherwise law abiding citizens while enriching people willing to deal drugs under the table. I don't think all drugs should be legal, just the ones that are conclusively not worse than alcohol.
Kristal Dixon (Editor) February 25, 2013 at 06:42 PM
I'm actually interested in seeing how state senators and representatives stand on this issue. Do you think this will make any sort of progress during the session?
Lynne Willis February 25, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Yes, Marijuana should be legalized. I would rather have my kids smoke then drink which they don't do because it is still illegal.
Lynne Willis February 25, 2013 at 10:42 PM
My hats off to you Chad! Well said! People need to educate themselves on Marijuana. Honestly, my Dad would still be alive today if he smoked Marijuana rather than drink.
katie davis February 25, 2013 at 11:17 PM
yes !
diana whitson February 26, 2013 at 01:08 AM
I agree that marijuana should be legalized. It should be regulated like alcohol. From what I've seen, it is less destructive than alcohol by a long shot. It would take a little stress off the legal system as well. It would be a revenue stream for the city/county/state.
Nicholas Capaldini February 26, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Yes. And to those who say marijuana has no medicinal value search YouTube for cannabis and Tourette's syndrome, or cannabis and Parkinson's orTardive Dystonia or Autism and watch the immediate relief it provides.
Norman February 26, 2013 at 02:37 PM
So what you're saying is "I'll smoke pot to help me with my {fill in the blank}...and get lung cancer in stead". Nobody ever said that pot smokers were smart.
Robert February 26, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Anyone who tries to justify legalizing a vice for the purposes of "raising government revenues" is probably already smoking pot.
Billy February 26, 2013 at 07:41 PM
I am a former US Marine and Police Officer, I am 56 now I have smoked pot 38 years. I can run 13 miles at a time none stop and lift 400.000 lbs every time I hit the waight room. I have never ever used any other drugs in my life . I dont drink , use tobaco or use any other Medication besides pot. You say Marijuana causes cancer you are wrong . You are like a chiken running around with his head cut off
Tony February 26, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Yes. The best way to keep it away from kids is to legalize/regulate/tax. Now, it's easier for kids to get cannabis than alcohol. Why? Drug dealers don't check ID, and nobody thinks it's profitable or worth the risk to sell alcohol to juveniles. Legalization would get rid of drug dealers. Their main demographic marketshare are white, middle-class, suburbanites with disposable income. Those folks would much rather buy it legally than illegally. If dealers lose the BULK of their income source (kids don't have a lot of cash), they will go away. Consider the alternative: The *rest* of the country moves towards legalization, so the black market will go to states where it's still illegal & PROFITABLE to skirt laws and sell, illegally. Drug dealers will flock to GA in droves, if we're still dragging our feet. Strict penalties, more risk. More risk, more profit. We'll be a target. Cannabis shouldn't be illegal, anyway. There have never been ANY cannabis overdoses, while alcohol kills 20k every year, cigarettes 400k. And contrary to what others have said, it actually does work as a medicine. Fights cancer, alzheimer's, parkinson's, glaucoma, arthritis, PTSD, etc. Look up patent 6630507, a documentary called "What if Cannabis Cures Cancer?" and all research about the endocannabinoid system. Not a joke. Seriously, just google it. Cannabis is a viable medicine that Nixon only demonized to prosecute minorities and Vietnam protesters.
wm97 February 27, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Check a book called the Physician's Desk Reference. It lists every pharmaceutical on sale in the US, along with side effects and warnings. You may note that all of the drugs have side effects, warning, and contraindications go. Every time you take a pill you make a decision about the side effects. As those side effects go, marijuana is considerably safer than nearly all of them. As for the lung cancer, pot smokers actually have lower rates of lung cancer. google "marijuana lung cancer Donald Tashkin." Not that it is necessary to smoke marijuana, anyway. So you really didn't have a point, anyway.
wm97 February 27, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Marijuana was originally outlawed for two major reasons. The first was because "All Mexicans are crazy and marijuana is what makes them crazy." the second was the fear that heroin addiction would lead to the use of marijuana - exactly the opposite of the modern "gateway" idea. The American Medical Association testified before Congress that there was no evidence that marijuana was a dangerous drug and no reason for the law. In response, the committee told the AMA to shut up and leave. The only other "expert" to testify was a psychologist named James C. Munch. His sole claim to fame was that he had injected mj directly into the brains of 300 dogs and two of them died. When they asked him what he concluded from this, he said he didn't know what to conclude because he wasn't a dog psychologist. He also testified in court, under oath, that mj could make your fangs grow six inches long and drip with blood, and that it could turn you into a bat. He was the only "expert" in the US who thought mj should be illegal, so they appointed him US Official Expert on marijuana where he served for 25 years. You can read all about it in the short history of the marijuana laws at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/whiteb1.htm I am with you all the way, Robert. We have a terrible problem with turning into bats and we have to get it under control. The marijuana laws make so much sense, don't they?
wm97 February 27, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Chad, read the history of the drug laws at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/cu/cumenu.htm We didn't have most of the modern problems with drugs until 1914. We know exactly when these problems started and we know exactly why. As for those drugs not worse than alcohol -- that would be just about all of them. Alcohol causes more problems in society than all the illegal drugs combined, and the comparison isn't even close. If any drug should be outlawed because it is dangerous then alcohol is by far the most obvious choice. However, we tried that, and it was an absolute disaster. It didn't solve anything and a lot of problems got worse - incuding the biggest teen drinking epidemic the US has ever seen. See http://druglibrary.org/prohibitionresults.htm Alcohol is legal for one reason only -- because prohibition is worse. Prohibition is not control. Prohibition is the complete lack of control. The more dangerous you assume a drug to be, the more important it becomes to treat it in a non-criminal manner. Making it a crime only drives the problems underground where it is harder to deal with them.
Steve Sandridge February 28, 2013 at 07:47 PM
You bet........
csap March 02, 2013 at 01:16 AM
@ WM, you're wrong on both counts. Marijuana is illegal because Dupont learned how to replace it with plastics, think nylon rope. Since we did'nt need it for the hemp products, it was made illegal by the tax stamp one had to have to transport it. Since the gov't made no stamps, anyone possessing it was a criminal.
csap March 02, 2013 at 01:18 AM
It, as well as sports betting and prostitution should all be legal. They are 3 fortune 100 industries that ALREADY exist that we get no tax revenue from. Regulate it all you like, but lets get those revenues. BTW, get your false morality out of my life!
wm97 March 02, 2013 at 07:11 PM
csap, Jack Herer (RIP) was a friend of mine and a great guy. But his conspiracy theory leaves a bit to be desired. Among other problems: -- Hemp was such a fading crop at the time that even the hemp farmers didn't protest when it was outlawed. When the law was passed they still had their hemp crop from three years earlier sitting in the warehouse, unsold. See the many resources at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/taxact/taxact.htm That page includes the full transcripts of the congressional hearings, the report of the 1934 hemp crop, and other related materials. -- DuPont made most of their money from explosives, not fabrics. -- Hemp is not really a competitor with DuPont's synthetic products. The biggest synthetic product at the time was nylon stockings and no woman was going to replace their nylons with hemp stockings. -- Jack's idea doesn't explain why mj was already illegal in 30 states before Anslinger came to the FBN in 1930. and so forth. You can find the largest online collection of historical research on the cannabis laws at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer You can find a specific discussion of this idea at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/hemp_conspiracy.htm It contains links to original sources. You can find another discussion of the subject at http://moderate.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/debunking-the-hemp-conspiracy-theory/
hunter bennett March 08, 2013 at 11:46 AM
Im a GA native who has been the manager of a medical cannabis dispensary here in CO since May 2012..I see patients get serious relief from not only Cancer treatment and glaucoma but also insomnia and stress. How many people do you know taking addictive sleeping pills? How many people do you know that are on benzos or other legal and deadly anxiety meds? Wake up folks and stop drinking the kool aid. Additionally, did you know that the first $40 million dollars in tax revenue collected annually from our legal pot shops will go to fund our public schools. Progression at its finest. KEEP FIGHTING THEY CANT WIN.
Jillian Galloway March 16, 2013 at 12:47 AM
These days we keep hearing about "legalizing marijuana for recreational use", but what it really appears to be is an attempt to legalize marijuana as a far safer alternative to alcohol. According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while marijuana kills none, and marijuana's addiction potential is only about that of coffee. Since marijuana is significantly milder, safer and less addictive than alcohol, we could prevent a lot of the harm that alcohol causes by letting people choose marijuana instead of alcohol. We need to put the safety of our children FIRST and legalize marijuana like beer and wine.
Lee78 March 19, 2013 at 02:06 PM
"it's probably no worse than all the folks going out for a drink at their local watering hole then driving home."....your opinion, yes. Probably the stupidest thing I've heard in a while. Drinking and driving causes millions of accidents every year....people high on weed never hurt anyone. read the facts.
Lee78 March 19, 2013 at 02:07 PM
AMEN. So sick of reading some of these ignorant comments with no facts to back it up. I have read ALOT and seen alot of documentaries. I am def PRO.
Lee78 March 19, 2013 at 02:09 PM
That's your opinion. I do not and never have, yet I have done/read alot of valuable information on benefits of weed used on cancer patients, etc. I am pro - all for it. Let's stop putting people in jail for small amounts of marijuana....while there's still robberies/shootings, etc taking place out there.
Lee78 March 19, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Thank you. Someone else who knows their stuff. ((high five))...get it HIGH five. hahaha! ;)
Lee78 March 19, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Thanks Hunter!
Robert R Smith March 27, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Its not the cancer causing drug like nicotine is! I lost my son to teenage suicide. He was on a legal substance called Afexsor. an anti-depresant. So me myself might go and smoke one from time to time cause it helps me cope.The truth is that alot of prescription drugs they give these kids now days is worse than pot ever thought about being! Focus more on the more dangerous legal drugs out there on the market today instead of a naturally grow plant that's been around for years. By ending this i will say that this! The cancer causing in cigarette smoke is from manmade chemicals that are put in the cigarettes.Go ahead Norman, do ur research on that!
hoo dat April 02, 2013 at 05:35 PM
You are one of the many, many ignorant people that only add fuel to an unnecessary fire. If you had any kind of brain you would at least try to comment on something you know about. There are NO...NONE...no studies EVER linking ANY CANCER to ANY kind OR amount of marijuana use. These studies have been going on for decades. And I am in the same boat as Billy, I bet you anything that I am in better physical condition and have more endurance and stamina than most men my age. I have used cannabis to COMPLETELY stop my seizures...14 straight years and not ONE health issue at all. I wish you people would just keep out of business that you so obviously have no place in. Lastly, the pot smokers being 'not smart' comment, I promise that you are the dumbest one of us all.
Jared Johnson June 24, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Well of course! Why is Tobacco and Alcohol legal to use but it kills people every day? And Nobody has reportedly ever died smoking marijuana, and that means it should be illegal? Does that make sense!? It is impossible to overdose on Mary Jane, because all u do is pass out, then wake up hours later! So all u people who think Mary kills u, do your research. Marijuana helps patients that has cancer, nauseous or lost of appetite. It will even reduce crime. I strongly support marijuana because I've been smoking pot all my life and I'm 41 and nothing hasn't happened to me! I checked my lungs on an x ray and it was clear as day! Legalize it!

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