April 20 is generally seen as a time where Americans and people around the world gather together to light up, but only 10 states in the U.S. have legalized recreational marijuana—not including Georgia.
Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign House Bill 324, which expands access to cannabis oil for those with a medical permission. The law does not allow terminally ill cancer patients, for example, to purchase regular marijuana.
In April 2015, Georgia passed Haleigh’s Hope Act, a medical marijuana law, which allowed patients to possess and use cannabis oil as long as it was less than 5% THC. The new law allows Georgians to also purchase the oil in Georgia, which was previously illegal.
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 62% of Americans, including 74% of millennials, support the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Those who suffer from cancer, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, seizure disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s disease, Sickle Cell disease, Tourette’s syndrome, Autism spectrum disorder, Epidermolysis, Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, Peripheral Neuropathy or PTSD are able to register with the State of Georgia to receive a medical marijuana card for $25.
These cards give patients the ability to use up to 20 fluid ounces of cannabis oil without being considered for criminal prosecution.
As of March 2019, there are 6,000 patients registered for a medical marijuana license in Georgia.
Cannabis products also have had a positive impact on economies in states where the plant is legalized for recreational use.
“Another important benefit will be the elimination of the opportunity cost of enforcing prohibition,” said J.J. Arias, professor of economics at GC. “In other words, legal and law enforcement resources will now be freed up to focus more on crimes like robbery, assault and rape. For example, imprisoning individuals for marijuana production and consumption is not the best use of our resources.”
For the time being marijuana and cannabis continue to remain limited to medical use. This being said we could see support for recreational use increase in Georgia in the next few years.