With two bills introduced in the state’s government, Georgia seeks to reduce penalties for marijuana possession. The capital city of Georgia, Atlanta, has already decriminalized possession. Are lawmakers trying to get the entire state on board?
Before we talk about the two bills that were introduced in Georgia, let’s go over the current state of things. As of now, possessing more than one ounce of cannabis in Georgia is considered to be a felony. But within the city limits of Atlanta, the capital, marijuana is decriminalized up to one ounce.
And Georgia, does, in fact, have a medical marijuana program. Last year, the state’s medical marijuana program was expanded to include more qualifying conditions to grant more people access to the life-saving plant.
While the state’s leadership has been against legalization, a faction of lawmakers in Georgia seeks to reduce penalties for marijuana. As a step to accomplish this, two bills have been introduced to the House and the Senate.
House Bill 865 aims to knock the criminal code for cannabis possession down a peg. This bill’s stated goal is to make the possession of the herb a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Well, up to two ounces would be a misdemeanor, that is.
The second bill, introduced to the Senate, follows in the same vein as the House bill. Titled simply as Senate Bill 105, if passed, this state-wide measure would decriminalize marijuana up to half an ounce. The subsequent fine would not exceed $300.
Admittedly, these measures are not particularly generous. But it’s a start.
Final Hit: Georgia Seeks To Reduce Penalties For Marijuana
The issue of cannabis legalization versus decriminalization is interesting, to say the least. While Georgia leadership has rejected the idea of all-out legalization, they have successfully fought for and established a medical marijuana program. And considering that the capital city has decriminalized marijuana possession, it looks like the attitudes in Georgia are shifting for the better.
Still, decriminalization in one city cannot solve everything. Attorney George Creal elaborated on this issue to local reporters. He also expanded on why state-wide decriminalization should move forward.
“There’s enforcement problems, there’s prosecution problems,” he said, referring to the decriminalization in certain cities. “You don’t want to have to depend on the discretion of a prosecutor or a judge. You want to be able to know what the law is.”
It’s a statement weighted by the truth. Especially since marijuana arrests in the United States have a clear racial disparity.
While decriminalization is far from legalization, these measures, if passed, could plant the seed for a more just legal system.