Bill to legalize recreational marijuana filed in the state Senate

As the debate continues over medical marijuana under the Gold Dome, a state senator has filed legislation that would legalize marijuana for recreational use in Georgia.

The bill along with a constitutional amendment by Sen. Curt Thompson (D-Tucker) would allow retailers to sell no more than 2 ounces of marijuana to anyone 21 years and older.

“It would set up a system of recreational marijuana that would include the medicinal… so that there would be one format that would address everything,” he says.

An excise tax charged on the sale would be divided between education and transportation. Taxes would not be charged on marijuana for medical purposes.

Thompson says another benefit would be a decline in the drug trade.

“Once you legalize and regulate something, the incentive for the drug cartels and the violate crime and the human traffickers to be involved in it goes away because it becomes a business,” he says.

The constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds majority to pass in both the House and Senate before it could go to the voters.

Thompson realizes it may be a long shot this year, but says he wouldn’t have proposed it if he didn’t think it could happen.

Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), who is proposing a bill to grant immunity to those with nine medical conditions who bring cannabis oil in from other states where it’s legal, has said he would fight just as hard any attempt at legalizing recreational marijuana.  His sentiments are shared by leadership in both the House and Senate and Gov. Nathan Deal as well.

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