Push to legalize marijuana in Georgia
ATLANTA - Marijuana is a smoking hot topic at the Georgia State Capitol. A half dozen State Senators are behind a resolution to legalize recreational marijuana in Georgia.
State Senator Curt Thompson (D-Tucker) is the lead sponsor of a resolution that if passed by the legislature would let voters determine if recreational marijuana use should be legal for people 21 and over. He's also sponsoring a bill that would allow for retail shops.
"A Colorado style system to allow retail sales of cannabis," said Sen. Thompson.
Sen. Thompson said the tax revenue from the sale of marijuana could bring in big bucks for the state that would be designated to education and transportation infrastructure.
"You're going to end up bringing in about 340 million dollars a year in extra tax revenue. That's revenue that could restore the hope scholarship to its previous levels," said Sen. Thompson.
Gwinnett County resident Norman Smith supports the idea.
"If we legalize it, people can go to the store and buy it and it takes it out of the hands of the dope dealers," said Smith.
Others said they don't want to see pot legalized, but they would like to see some changes in the penalties for possessing it.
"I think we could solve the problem a little better by making it a fine situation instead of getting people in the criminal system, and all of a sudden you have a felony and you can't get hired," said Sammy Baker who lives in Gwinnett County.
Randy Woolery, who is a member of the Georgia Tea Party, said he's okay with medicinal marijuana use, but not for recreation purposes.
"It's a gateway to the rest of the drugs, how much recreation do we need? If you want recreation, go to Six Flags," said Woolery.
The resolution is currently in committee. Sen. Thompson has been pushing for legalizing marijuana for a few years now and says each year the support for it has grown.