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GA Marijuana Reform Group Reaches Out to Gov. Deal

The group is asking Deal to suspend the arrest and prosecution of marijuana possession cases.

Advocates for marijuana law reform are calling on the state of Georgia to suspend the arrest and prosecution of marijuana possession cases, according to a recent release from Georgia Campaign for Access, Reform, & Education (Georgia CARE).

The call comes after state prosecutors said they lack the resources to prosecute a backlog of child exploitation cases in a January press conference.

In Georgia, possession of more than 28 grams of marijuana carries up to 10 years in state prison. Roswell Police deal with their share of marijuana cases on a daily basis.

A letter to Governor Nathan Deal from James Bell, director of Georgia CARE, asks the governor to direct state agencies to suspend the arrest and prosecution of marijuana possession cases and use the limited resources on crimes against people and property, particularly child exploitation and violent offenders.

Read the entire letter, attached to this article, sent by Bell to Deal.

Bell points out the state found the resources to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate nearly 40,000 marijuana cases last year - a vast majority of these cases for mere possession.

“Wasting tax dollars and law enforcement resources on marijuana has jeopardized the public health and safety of the citizens of Georgia,” Bell wrote. “We respectfully request that you as governor of the State of Georgia take the lead in this matter and redirect the resources to ensure children are protected.”

The Woodstock Police Department last year had 146 cases that invovled marijuana arrests.

For the Cherokee Sheriff's Office, the agency had 298 marijuana-related arrests in 2012.

Georgia CARE are advocates for reform of marijuana laws including medical marijuana and decriminalization for adults.

The organization is engaged in a campaign to educate the public and lawmakers on why marijuana law reform must be addressed.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana
laws and two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized personal
use amounts.

Georgia unanimously passed medical marijuana laws in 1980 but the program was halted due to lack of participation from the federal government.

For more about Georgia CARE, find them on Facebook.

Christine Foster and Kristal Dixon contributed to this article.

Tony January 31, 2013 at 10:03 PM
I think it's important to note that GA was one of only EIGHT states that abstained from the State Ratification Convention for the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution, overturning alcohol prohibition. Now you can buy alcohol at Walmart, despite cannabis being safer. I really wish GA wasn't so stubborn. Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Iowa, and even KENTUCKY are going to be considering Medical Cannabis legislation this year. Those are conservative "backbone" states. Ask anyone who lives there. Even South Dakota and TEXAS are looking to decriminalize medical use. We have 53k people jailed in GA. Prisons are full. Let's not forget that cannabis laws, especially in GA, are racially biased. From 2010-2011, 471 white people were arrested in Atlanta for cannabis, compared to 6530 black people arrested on the same charges. 79% of prisoners currently jailed for cannabis are black. 30% of the population of GA is black. That's stark ethnic disparity. Think of the tax dollars we waste enforcing, prosecuting, and jailing people for victimless crimes. Where's the fiscal responsibility in that? GA should get out AHEAD of this. GA should go where the ball WILL BE instead of chasing after the ball. Medical cannabis is where the ball is. We should legalize, TIGHTLY regulate, and tax. We can use the revenue and the JOBS a cannabis/hemp industry would bring in. OR, we can sit on our hands, and in 20 years, import cannabis from OTHER states.
FlyingTooLow February 01, 2013 at 04:03 PM
Law enforcement needs to re-direct its focus on crime...to those that are REAL crimes. I was in Federal Prison for 5 years for a marijuana offense. No, it was not for simple possession. I was arrested aboard a Lockheed PV2 in Marianna, Florida...charged and convicted for conspiracy to import and distribute 12,000 pounds of marijuana. As those 5 years rolled by, what I did see were armed bank robbers, coming and going...while I still sat there for marijuana. Most of the bank robbers only spent 17 to 24 months. But, I and my fellow 'drug offenders,'...we stayed for YEARS. I wrote about the escapades that led to my incarceration. I admit, I had a great time. No one was injured, no one was killed, firearms were not involved...there were no victims. We were Americans...doing what Americans do best...living free. My book: Shoulda Robbed a Bank I think you may enjoy it.
Shon February 04, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Georgia will probably be the last state to legalize marijuana. There is a better chance of the city of Atlanta passing a new law abolishing marijuana convictions for small amounts. This state is rarely a leader in criminal reform. Most of the state laws are racially biased due to the history of locking up its black minorities. As long as whites feel threatened by blacks don't look for Georgia to have any real courage.
Jose Gonzales February 06, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Georgians need the backlog of marijuana cases to ensure that there are insufficient resources to go after the child molesters in the church.
Jose Gonzales February 06, 2013 at 03:27 PM
If Georgians cared as much about freedom as they do for their guns, marijuana would be legalized in a few hours.

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