Georgia Lawmaker Joins Coalition in Announcing Forthcoming Marijuana Reform Bill

State Representative Eric Bell (D), along with a coalition of activists and industry leaders, has announced new legislation to reform the state’s marijuana laws.

(Photo credit: The Good Life Store).

The New Georgia Project Action Fund has joined forces with State Representative Eric Bell (D) to announce the We Want All The S.M.O.K.E. (Spreading Marijuana Opportunities and Knowledge Everywhere) Campaign. The campaign includes “esteemed community leaders and activists from around the state in forming the Georgia Coalition for Cannabis Reform”. The group will be pushing a marijuana legalization bill that Representative Bell plans to file at the start of the upcoming legislative session.

This “first-of-its kind initiative” is being supported by leaders in the cannabis industry and medical field, including the Georgia Hemp Association, Lakeland Centres, Minority Cannabis Research Laboratories, CARE for Georgia, and more.

According to a press release, the group’s efforts “will be focused on advocacy and legislation around the safe use of cannabis, increased access to jobs and opportunities in the growing cannabis industry, and criminal legal reform for crimes related to cannabis possession and use in Georgia.

“This coalition was born out of necessity,” says Takia Tinsley, Lead Organizer for NGPAF’s S.M.O.K.E. Campaign. “Too many Georgians’ lives are being halted or harmed over use of a drug that medical professionals all over the country support and that most other states allow. Georgia is one of only 19 states that still imposes jail time for cannabis possession. And, so far, only 12 cities out of Georgia’s 537 have decriminalized possession of less than an ounce. That’s 2% of Georgia cities, leaving the residents in the other 98% vulnerable to unfair targeting and punishment. We’re on a mission to change that.”

The group’s press release states:

With municipal elections just around the corner, NGPAF’s S.M.O.K.E. Campaign is also working to connect the dots for voters between the issue of cannabis decriminilization and the power of voting in impacting change. In Camilla, Georgia, the 12th city to decriminalize cannabis in the state, the City Council member who spearheaded the reform won his seat by eight votes. Like all elections in Georgia, municipal elections are decided on the margins, and issues like cannabis reform can be a driving force to get voters out to the polls. 

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