AUGUSTA, Ga. (Jan. 21, 2016) – A bill filed in the Georgia House would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, taking a big step toward nullifying federal cannabis prohibition in practice in the state.
Introduced by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) and two cosponsors, House Bill 722 (HB722) would legalize marijuana for medicinal use.
This legislation would permit access to medical marijuana for patients suffering from cancer, Mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s disease, Sickle cell disease, Autism, Alzheimer’s disease Glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, Tourette’s syndrome, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, severe muscle spasms, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Intractable pain, Epidermolysis bullosa, any illness with life expectancy of under a year, and any illness involving “severe pain, nausea or severe vomiting; or cachexia or severe wasting.” Other medical conditions may qualify after the approval of the commissioner.
The legislation creates a state system to register qualified users of medicinal cannabis. It also establish the duties of patients, designated caregivers, physicians, and manufacturers of medical marijuana.
Despite federal marijuana prohibition, measures such as HB722 remain perfectly constitutional, and there is little if anything the feds can do to stop them in practice.
EFFECT ON FEDERAL PROHIBITION
Passage of these bills would partially remove one layer of law prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana in Georgia, but federal prohibition would remain in place.
Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.
While these Georgia bills would not alter federal law, they would take a step toward nullifying in effect the federal ban. FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By easing the state laws, the Wyoming legislature would remove some of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.
Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.
If the Georgia legislature passes HB722, Georgia would join a growing number of states simply ignoring federal prohibition. Colorado, Washington state and Alaska have all legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, and 23 states now allow cannabis for medical use. With nearly half the country legalizing marijuana, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition any more. The feds need state cooperation to fight the “drug war,” and that has rapidly evaporated in the last few years with state legalization, practically nullifying the ban.
“The lesson here is pretty straight forward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.
In Georgia: Take action to support this legislation HERE
For other states: Take action to support ending marijuana prohibition at this link.