Southern U.S. states are notorious for resisting marijuana legalization efforts. Of the 20 states and D.C. who have taken the modest step of legalizing medicinal marijuana, none are in mid-south and southeastern United States. But as attitudes regarding marijuana change across the country, a recent poll suggests they are even being swayed in the south, with Georgia possibly legalizing the plant in the near future based on voters’ desires.
According to a new survey from Public Policy Polling, 54 percent of Georgia voters want to see marijuana legalized for recreational use. The results of the survey were surprising considering the region and historical voting and polling patterns. A full 62 percent believe marijuana should at least be de-criminalized (punished by a fine rather than criminal charges).
“The citizens of Georgia agree, marijuana prohibition is a wasteful and destructive policy,” stated Sharon Ravert, Executive Director of the Peachtree chapter of NORML, according to NaturalNews. “It is time for our state to catch up with public opinion and find a more sensible solution to the status quo.”
Recently, Georgia state Senator Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) proposed legislation that would create a committee to study medical marijuana in the state, signaling more positive movements on the cannabis front.
“I believe that there is lot of information out there that indicates we need to make a change to our existing law regarding medical marijuana,” McKoon said according to WABE. “However, I think there is an awful lot of information we need to get as a state legislature before we start talking about dropping a bill to make those changes.”
Like lawmakers in other states, some in Georgia are also considering a bill that would allow medical marijuana for the treatment of seizure disorders in children. This type of legislation could provide the “foot in the door” that could pave the way for broader legislation.
Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) plans on introducing such a bill. Peake himself has visited with a 4-year old girl who suffers up to 100 seizures a day and whose parents have said they will move to Colorado if they have to in order to get the one treatment that works without the dangerous side effects of pharmaceuticals.
We’ve seen it in Colorado and Washington, and we’re seeing the consensus towards prohibition change across the country. When southern states start adopting more lenient pot laws, we will have definitely crossed a major threshold towards all-out, nationwide legalization.