A group of six Democratic state senators filed legislation this week that would move toward legalizing marijuana in Georgia for medicinal and recreational use.
A resolution was filed to amend Georgia’s constitution to allow for the legalization of marijuana. The resolution accompanies two bills.
Sen. Curt Thompson of Tucker, who is the lead sponsor, said the biggest concern is weed usage will lead to people using harder drugs.
“I think on the medical side, you find more bipartisan support,” he said. “I think the biggest argument you hear, honestly, is the gateway drug argument and I understand. A lot of that is just going to take education and time.”
The legislation would require a change in the state constitution, and that would require voter approval.
Thompson said he thinks there’s a better chance to legalize pot now than in years past, because nine other states and Washington, D.C., have already done so.
He said just decriminalizing weed and not legalizing it keeps the state from reaping the full benefits.
“You’re talking about Georgia’s third largest cash crop after cotton and peanuts,” he said. “And so that’s a huge unregulated industry and that’s a huge amount of tax revenue that you’re leaving on the table if you just do decriminalization.”
Thompson said the marijuana industry could generate some $340 million a year for Georgia. The proposed resolution calls for the tax revenue to be split evenly between education and transportation spending.