Recently, we had wrote whether Georgia would be the next state to vote on marijuana legalization. Obviously, this is not something that happens overnight, but it looks like the peach state is making some serious strides. The state currently seeking to reduce its marijuana possession penalties, and if you are familiar with the current law, then you can say that this is a step in the right direction.
Georgia’s current law states that those who are in possession of over one ounce of pot are committing a felony. Yes, a felony. Atlanta, the state’s capital, had decriminalized possession in October of up to one once reducing punishment from jail time up to six months and a maximum $1000 fine to a new maximum fine of $75 and the elimination of imprisonment. Is the rest of the state going to follow suit?
Several lawmakers in Georgia are fighting to reduce the penalties for marijuana possession. In an effort to do so, two bills have been introduced to the House and Senate, House Bill 965 and Senate Bill 105.
The goal of House Bill 865 is to reduce the punishment for marijuana possession, up to two ounces, from a felony to a misdemeanor. Senate Bill 105 would decriminalize marijuana throughout the state, up to a half an ounce, and the fine associated would remain below $300. It may not be legalization, but hey, it’s not a felony.
In an interview, Attorney George Creal discussed his views on state-wide legalization and why he believes it should be passed.
“There’s enforcement problems, there’s prosecution problems,” Creal said, referring to the decriminalization in specific 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.”
Although Georgia lawmakers were unsupportive of State Senator Curt Thompson effort legalize marijuana last year, their views did not stop them from expanding the state’s medical marijuana program to include twice as many conditions for eligibility. Decriminalization may only be the tip of the iceberg towards legalization in the state, but remember that Rome wasn’t built in day.