Yesterday Georgia’s Democratic Senator Curt Thompson introduced bills that would legalize both medical and recreational marijuana for the state. The first bill, SB6, would allow adults aged 21 and over to purchase and possess recreational marijuana. The bill doesn’t stop there either. The proposed legislation would also tax the drug and push the proceeds towards education and transportation infrastructure in a 50-50 split.

SB7 was proposed in conjunction with SB6, and would allow the use of medical marijuana for debilitating medical conditions like cancer, HIV, and other debilitating medical conditions. Along with allowing the use of medical marijuana, the bill also addresses safe access to the medicine including licensing process for dispensaries and patients.

“During the 2015 legislative session, we will have the opportunity to provide our doctors with an additional tool by legalizing marijuana for medical use,” Senator Thompson said. The majority of Georgia voters are supportive of medical marijuana according to a recent poll by WSB-TV of Atlanta. Of 750 registered Georgia voters, 54% were in favor of medical marijuana.

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Aside from medical benefits for patients in need, the legalization could start to turn around the long-standing racial disparity prevalent in Georgia marijuana arrests. In Fulton County (Atlanta), over 87% of marijuana arrests are black according to the ACLU.

As societal changes sweep the nation, Georgia could be next in the forefront of the marijuana debate. These bills will undoubtedly receive pushback from both Georgia voters and politicians in early 2015 and it will remain to be seen whether proponents can gain traction. One thing is certain; there is a lot at stake for the nearly 10 million Georgia residents.

Photo Credit: scmikeburton

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