Did you have a Happy 420 Day? While cannabis advocates in Georgia didn’t have much to celebrate this year, “marijuana momentum” is spreading across the country, giving prospects for the legalization of the plant the distinct whiff of inevitability.
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.
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.
Consider this comment from a young adult quoted in a new health study led by a researcher at Georgia State University: “I smoke [pot] recreationally, but it still has those medical effects because I work and UPS, and I lift boxes all day. … I’m sore a lot of the times. But I don’t even notice these days because I’m so medicated.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Diehards still watching broadcast TV may remember CBS as the “Tiffany Network,” and the venerable “60 Minutes” newsmag as its crown jewel. Sadly, the show’s pre-election curtain-raiser about historic votes to legalize marijuana felt more like shopping for cubic zirconia knockoffs at the strip mall. The “Pot Vote” story started out O.K. with an intro from Dr. […]
Nearly eight years ago, I briefly joined the ranks of SaportaReport shortly after its debut. Following some career diversions that took me in a very different direction (namely, flakking for MARTA) I’m returning as a regular columnist and sometime-editor for SaportaReport, which has become one of the best, most influential newsblogs covering our region.