Medical hashish is a conservative worth. Just final week in Texas, a six-year-old woman acquired the state’s first cargo of authorized medical marijuana. Now, the query is which southern state would be the first to legalize leisure marijuana outright. Looking across the south, the chief suspect is within the southeast. So: Could Georgia be the subsequent state to vote for legalized weed?
Legalization Where The Marijuana Laws Are Toughest?
Georgia is extra liberal on hashish than chances are you’ll assume. Atlanta lawmakers ended legal penalties for low-level marijuana possession in October. That paved the best way for state lawmakers to help legalization in numbers by no means earlier than seen.
State Senator Curt Thompson tried to legalize hashish in Georgia final yr. His invoice failed, in no small half as a result of he was the one sponsor. This time round, 5 different state lawmakers hooked up their names to the trouble.
Decriminalization is good, however legalization is a lot better. Georgia has a few of the strictest marijuana legal guidelines within the nation. Possession of greater than two ounces is punishable by a ten-year jail time period, in response to the Marijuana Policy Project.
That’s dangerous. And that’s one thing cities can’t repair on their very own.
“To get rid of the gangs, to get rid of the organized crime unit, that is the only way to do it is to do it statewide,” Thompson informed WTOC.
Based on numbers from Colorado, if Georgia have been to legalize and tax leisure hashish, it might imply greater than $340 million in tax income. Big cash! And cash that Georgia is determined to seek out from someplace. Anywhere. This is why the reply to “Could Georgia be the next state to vote for legalized weed” is a robust perhaps.
If Not Casinos, Then Cannabis
Georgia lawmakers have spent the previous few years furiously looking round for a supply of revenue. They’ve tried a number of occasions to legalize casinos with no luck.
So as an alternative of casinos, why not marijuana?
Thompson’s plan is brief on particulars. The invoice he’s launched solely authorizes the state meeting to ship the query to voters. Every different level, corresponding to who can develop it and the way it’ll be taxed or bought, continues to be up within the air.
That stated, Thompson needs to separate that $340 million windfall between schooling and transportation.
If the invoice passes the state Legislature, it will go to the voters in November 2018 for his or her remaining approval.
That’s a mighty massive if.
Final Hit: Could Georgia Be The Next State To Vote For Legalized Weed?
2018 is already shaping as much as be a banner yr for marijuana legalization. Vermont’s governor signed a legalization invoice into regulation in January. New Jersey’s governor is on discover to satisfy an identical promise. And backers of a legalization effort in Michigan say they’ve greater than sufficient help to move a poll measure in November.
Where does that depart Georgia? In the south, sadly. Support for legalization to date is restricted to city areas like Atlanta. Lawmakers in different sparsely populated areas of the state aren’t fairly so eager. Not even coastal Savannah, with its famend arts and cultural scene, is down with authorized weed.
In reality, lawmakers are each the answer and the issue.
Georgia has no citizen-initiated poll initiative course of. Changes to the state Constitution go earlier than voters, however solely legislators can ship a query to the poll.
So legalization’s solely path ahead is by way of state lawmakers. Until this yr, no state had completed that. And thus far, solely Bernie Sanders’s house state has managed that trick. Can the house of SEC soccer be the subsequent? It’s a minimum of attainable.