A majority of voters in Georgia want more than their state’s highly limited and nearly inoperable medical cannabis law.
A majority of Georgia voters say recreational marijuana should be legalized in their state, according to a new survey from NBC-affiliated station WXIA-TV. By 5:1, they are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.
Nearly forms of marijuana are currently prohibited in Georgia, a historically conservative state that up until recently has been opposed to loosening cannabis laws. The state does have in place a limited, low-THC medical cannabis oil law for patients diagnosed with at least one of about 10 conditions, but there is no legal way to access it.
When asked whether the use of recreational marijuana should be legalized or remain against the law, 55 percent said they favored ending prohibition, compared to 33 percent who want to keep things as they are.
Additionally, 72 percent of voters said they believe that Georgia should allow state-regulated cultivation of marijuana to produce legal cannabis oil. A bill that would have legalized harvesting cannabis oil in Georgia failed during this year’s session.
WXIA-TV hired SurveyUSA to conduct the poll, which involved interviewing 1,250 adults from the state of Georgia October 3-8. Of the participants, 1,027 were registered to vote, and if those, 655 were determined to be likely to vote in the upcoming midterm election.
Access to Marijuana in Georgia
Georgia is one of the few states that has not provided patients with a legal way to access cannabis. Over the past 22 years, 30 states and Washington, D.C. have changed their laws over to provide legal access to medical marijuana. Nine plus Washington, D.C. have legalized the use of recreational marijuana.
Georgia’s restrictive medical cannabis law makes it legal for certain qualified persons to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil” derived from the marijuana plant. The state earlier this year expanded the state’s program by adding two new qualifying conditions. As of July 31, Georgia’s Department of Health said 5,425 people had applied and received a medical card.
Despite the law permitting possession and use, the state’s program remains unworkable. Registered patients are not provided with any legal way to obtain the cannabis oil, forcing most to risk acquiring the marijuana from an illegal source.
Others have come up with innovative methods for obtaining the cannabis legally. According to a recent report from WXIA-TV, an underground network has found a way to bring the cannabis oil in from out of state. Volunteers including Representative Allen Peake (R-141st) make large donations to a non-profit organization in Colorado in exchange for cannabis oil somehow getting into the state. They then legally distribute it for free to more than 700 patients.
Georgia legislators and the state’s Low THC Medical Oil Access Commission reportedly held public meetings last month to discuss how to improve access to cannabis oil, potentially leading to new legislation next year.
While most Georgians still have no legal way to buy marijuana, hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products are legally available.