No place like home for Georgia medical cannabis patients

Lawmakers shouldn’t be forced to behave like outlaws. Nor should sick and suffering Georgians be treated like criminals merely for seeking the medicine they need. But that’s the twisted reality of our state’s conflicted and confusing cannabis policy. It’s time for that dynamic to change and voters deserve the opportunity to make it so at the ballot box.

Georgia Power vs. the law of holes

By Lyle V. Harris
Georgia Power is likely to get another shot-in-the-arm after announcing plans to complete construction on those ill-fated nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro. A far more appropriate response to this epic boondoggle, of course, would be a swift kick in the pants. But don’t count on it. 

For MARTA’s future, culture is everything

MARTA recently hosted its latest hack-a-thon, a high-tech competition inviting participants to create their own “hacks” or improvements to make the transit agency more effective, efficient and customer friendly. 

Hack-a-thons aren’t new; large companies have been holding them for years. But for MARTA, they’re a really big deal. As the agency starts searching for its next CEO, that person should understand how such events foster a culture of openness and innovation that’s critical to MARTA’s forward trajectory.

In the Trump era, praying science can save us

The most dominant national headlines in recent weeks have highlighted a fundamental principle that’s often overlooked but cannot be overstated: Science matters. From predicting dangerous tropical storms to charting the path of an eclipse or utterly discrediting the claims of hate-filled racists, science may ultimately help to save us, if only from ourselves.

Making “green the new Black” in cannabis industry

It appears a budding “cannabis rights movement” is slowly taking root in Georgia. A group of African-American advocates and activists in Atlanta last week launched the Minority Cannabis Coalition, an organization working to ensure “equity and access” for Blacks and other minorities interested in joining the nation’s multi-billion dollar marijuana market.

MLK’s “Beloved Community” and the G-Word

An almost surefire way to start an argument in Atlanta is to utter the “G-word” – as in “gentrification.” In the midst of a torrid development boom, the inflow of affluent newcomers to Atlanta – and the involuntary uprooting of low-income residents that inevitably follows – reveals the racial and economic fault lines running through city’s social bedrock.

Run Oprah run? Don’t count on it

Oprah Winfrey delivered the commencement address for Agnes Scott College in Decatur. Those expecting a life-affirming message from the media icon got their wish. But those hoping the billionaire guru would offer a glimmer of hope for a future White House bid were sorely disappointed.

Sorry Mayor Reed; cannabis is no “gateway”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he believes marijuana (cannabis) is a “gateway drug” that can lead young people to experiment with dangerous narcotics. That theory has been around since the 1970s and is often floated as the rationale for punitive anti-cannabis laws at the national and local level. Although this popular bromide tugs at our heartstrings, it has one major problem: There’s no evidence that it’s true.

A mother’s love vs. Georgia’s “reefer madness”

Bridgett Liquori is an outlaw, not that you’d know from looking at her. This petite 34-year-old single mother’s crime? She loves her children and is risking everything to keep them as happy, safe and healthy as possible.

If that means breaking state and federal laws to get the medical cannabis her kids need to treat their daunting illnesses, then so be it.

Rising up in the age of Trump

Welcome to the “United States of Atlanta.”

From the capitol dome to the Georgia Dome, our city’s ascendance as a pop cultural and political powerhouse was on full display over the weekend. For very different reasons, and in markedly different ways, a diverse cross-section of citizens living in the U.S. of Atlanta were inspired to “Rise Up.”

Better late then never: ‘A path forward’ for Ga. transit funding

No more flying pigs?

Georgia’s Legislature has suffered a failure to launch on the issue of public transportation for years, but that may finally be changing. A legislative study committee report released last month recommends that the state provide operating funds to local transit agencies all across Georgia – including MARTA.

Yes, it’s only a study committee and waaay to early to start celebrating. But this promising and long overdue development has implications that are too important for even the most cynical among us (me) to dismiss. While flying pigs exist only in fantasy, a serious discussion about dedicated transit funding in Georgia is already taking flight.

Q & A with State Rep. Allen Peake, Georgia’s “Dean” of Medical Marijuana

Republican lawmaker Allen Peake of Macon has emerged as Georgia’s unlikely “dean” of medical marijuana. Peake strongly opposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use. But he’s a staunch champion in the fight to provide legal access for Georgians suffering with chronic illnesses who benefit from cannabis oil, a form of marijuana that offers relief without getting users high. In the first installment of the I-420 Georgia travelogue series, I interviewed Peake at his office in Bibb County. Peake spoke openly about the challenges that advocates face in expanding Georgia’s existing medical marijuana law, and the unusual (and illegal) steps he’s taking to aid patients in the meantime.

New “I-420” columns highlight marijuana reform efforts

And so it begins.

After quitting my good government job four months ago, I’ve been on a journey without a road map or any guarantee that I’ll reach the final destination in one piece. I confess this adventure seems a little bit nuts. Scary too.

But, throwing caution (and what’s left of my 401K) to the wind, I’m planning a regular feature on SaportaReport called “I-420 Georgia.” The goal is simple: to create a rolling travelogue highlighting the people, places and businesses being impacted by Georgia’s existing marijuana laws.