Author: Shanti Persad-Moeller

Georgia is a complicated state. Guns are widespread legally. Public schools in plenty of districts are widely avoided by changing neighborhoods or coughing up the funds for private education. The lottery provides an enormous amount of the state income, and marijuana caused arrests in past years rank in the top three of the nation. But the beliefs of lawmakers are not echoed through the state’s population.

The state’s strong stance against legalizing recreational marijuana runs deep into morality issues. The sort of issues which initially contributed to the problem of the federal mandate against the plant. Like other morality issues in Georgia which reinforce a time long ago, the problem is clear. . .the times have changed. It is fair to say the lawmakers are ignoring the majority of their constituents and so small groups taking on the challenge are rising to the scene.

One such group is the Peachtree NORML, a small association of do-gooders headed by a retired law enforcement officer. The group is ready to use their first amendment rights to stand up for a cause more than half the state’s population favors, namely the legislation for recreational marijuana.

Tye word in the bars, restaurants, and at high school football games is marijuana for recreational use ought to be legal by now.

One probation officer I spoke with is disgusted y the situation. She expressed her frustration at the inability to help the probationers with a special need, anxiety and depression, deemed a legit medical reason in more forward-thinking states. She’s forced to report the marijuana use and then cart them back to jail.

Another woman seeking relief from a methadone, a schedule 2 drug, prescribed for the relief of opioid addiction, cannot use marijuana as is prescribed in the as a treatment for opiate addiction. In fact, she states it is easier to use opiates than smoke marijuana because of secrecy.

And the bar tender at a local restaurant mistrusts the use of the local ordinance in her county allowing police officers to give tickets for marijuana possession less than one ounce instead of carting someone off to jail. She believes the cops will use it to lure in her people by making them think they can smoke marijuana then arresting them for a probation violation.

Sadly, there’s some truth to this. Law enforcement officers have on site discretion and they tend to use it.

When is the public opinion on the subject going to matter to the lawmakers? While more than half the population in Georgia agree marijuana should be legal for recreational purposes, even more agree the use marijuana is not a moral issue.

More and more states are legalizing marijuana for recreational use and citizens in states with draconian laws like Georgia see the times have changed. But until the legislature catches up Georgia citizens who want to use marijuana recreationally are still criminals under the State’s laws.

 

The Law Office of

Shanti Persad-Moeller
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Savannah, Georgia 31419
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