Medical marijuana improvement bill falls short in 2016 session
Last update: April 12, 2016
Despite early signs of broad support, a bill designed to make the state’s medical marijuana program more workable failed to advance. Early in the session, Rep. Allen Peake introduced HB 722, which proposed several vital improvements to Haleigh’s Hope Act. Among other key changes, the original bill would have removed limits on the amount of THC, which leaves most patients behind, and allowed for safe access to medical cannabis within Georgia, complete with local cultivation, processing, and testing. Unfortunately, most of the critical provisions were removed as the bill moved through the House, and even in its highly limited form, it did not advance.
Currently, Georgia’s law requires patients or families to travel to other states and bring medical cannabis back to Georgia, which is a violation of federal law and likely a violation of the laws of other states. Those who fought hard on behalf of loved ones have vowed to treat compliance with the state’s medical marijuana law as a form of civil disobedience and plan to publicize their efforts to help family members import medical cannabis from other states.
Medical marijuana has strong support among voters in Georgia, which has been shown in poll, after poll, after poll. Given voter support in finding a better approach, it is clear the conversation is far from over, and we expect another improvement bill in 2017.
ACLU study shows Georgia’s harsh marijuana laws result in racially disproportionate arrest rates
Georgia has some of the most punitive marijuana laws in the country, with possession of a mere two ounces being punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It’s clear these laws have not been successful, and new evidence shows that Georgia’s laws are not being evenly enforced.
A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in Georgia are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
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