Lawmaker introduces bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Georgia

ATLANTA — The move to legalize recreational marijuana is gaining some traction in the state capitol, but the lawmaker behind it admits it won't be easy.

Given the fact that Georgia has a GOP-controlled legislature and it's an election year, Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot learned the chances the state will legalize recreational marijuana is slim, but the bill's sponsor told Elliot that support is growing.

“The historical trends and the political trends nationally, and even here in Georgia, are on our side,” state senator Curt Thompson, D-Tucker, said.

Thompson said he knows he’s fighting an uphill battle, but, once again, he’s introduced a measure that could legalize recreational marijuana.


“When I first started this, I was the only sponsor. There’s now six sponsors on the retail bill. There’s about 17 or 18 on the medicinal marijuana statute,” Thompson told Elliot. 

Thompson isn’t talking about medical cannabis oil, though. 

He’d like to see Georgia legalize marijuana so you could possess up to an ounce and buy it from stores. Thompson thinks the state could benefit from taxing the drug.

“If you used the Colorado tax rates and then just correcting for population, you know, assuming it’s going to be heavier use or less use here in Georgia than in Colorado, you end up bringing about $340 million dollars a year just in tax revenue,” Thompson said. 

“To me, this looks like election-year theatrics,” said Virginia Galloway with the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Galloway said she opposes any legalization because of religious reasons, but most importantly, she said, because of health reasons.

“I think most Georgians realize there are some real dangers inherent in doing that thing, and a lot of people will be hurt. Traffic accidents, not to mention the impact of drug use on young people,” Galloway told Elliot. 

Even with added support there’s still little chance of the bill passing this year.