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1 US GA: PUB LTE: Pot Legislation A Good First StepWed, 11 Oct 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Blackmon, Alexis Area:Georgia Lines:31 Added:10/11/2017

As an African-American woman who has seen the negative ramifications an ounce of marijuana can have on one's life, I found the article "Atlanta Mayor Reed to review, sign changes to city marijuana laws," hopeful.

According to ACLU, African-Americans are more than four times as likely to be arrested as white adults. By reducing the penalty and eliminating jail time, fewer African-Americans will have a criminal record. In Atlanta, African-Americans make up 92 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession. By decriminalizing marijuana and reducing the penalty, the crime rate amongst African-Americans will decrease.

A strict drug penalty is not stopping the usage of marijuana. Why not lessen the offense and put the money into the communities that are disproportionately affected by the incarceration rate?

Alexis Blackmon, Marietta


2US GA: Georgia Prosecutors Push To Free Imprisoned Low-Level DrugMon, 09 Oct 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Cook, Rhonda Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:10/09/2017

Anthony Gray expected to be an old man when he got out of prison after serving a 30-year sentence for a relatively minor drug offense.

Aron Tuff was certain he would die there, having been sentenced to life without parole after he was convicted in 1995 in Colquitt County for possession of .03 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Both men were sentenced during a time when tough on crime drug laws of the 1980s and '90s left many low-level drug offenders serving long sentences.

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3US GA: OPED: Becoming One Of 'Those People' After Addiction StruckSun, 01 Oct 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Boccia, Kate Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:10/06/2017

I am a pretty quintessential middle-class American woman. My ancestry is Danish and English-maybe some Scottish somewhere. I'm just enough of a WASP to have some ancestors who fought in the Revolution. But I certainly didn't feel superior to the blue-collar Italian and Irish kids in the lower-middle-class neighborhood where I grew up - in fact, I would have laughed at the notion that, merely as white people, any of us were privileged. I reserved that term for the rich kids living in big houses across town. In my book, privilege meant you had a lot more than my family had.

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4US GA: Police Chief: New Law Doesn't Legalize PotWed, 04 Oct 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Stafford, Leon Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:10/06/2017

You might want to think twice before you light up that joint in Piedmont Park or anywhere else in the city of Atlanta.

The drug is still illegal, despite Monday's move by the Atlanta City Council to eliminate jail time and reduce the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana, Atlanta Police Chief Erica Shields said Tuesday.

In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Shields said some media and advocates of cannabis decriminalization are confusing the public by suggesting the Council's action gives Atlanta residents permission to use pot without consequence.

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5US GA: Atlanta: No Jail For Pot PossessionTue, 03 Oct 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Stafford, Leon Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:10/06/2017

The Atlanta City Council on Monday unanimously passed legislation eliminating jail time and reducing penalties on possession of small amounts of marijuana, but not before mayoral candidates got into heated debates and backers of the bill became rowdy.

The legislation, which was resurrected in September after spending months in committees because of concerns it might send the wrong message, brings Atlanta closer to other large cities across the nation that are either lessening penalties on pot or decriminalizing it altogether as Americans' opinions on the drug evolve.

It will reduce the financial penalty for possession of one ounce or less from up to $1,000 to a maximum of $75. Jail time, currently six months for possession, would be eliminated for an ounce or less.


6US GA: Georgia Welcomes Forfeiture Rule ReinstatementThu, 20 Jul 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Ondieki, Anastaciah Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:07/20/2017

Georgia law enforcement agencies lost access to millions of dollars in potential funding when the U.S. Department of Justice in 2015 all but shut down a practice criticized as encouraging policing for profit.

Now state law enforcement leaders are welcoming U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Wednesday announcement that the department is reinstating "adoptive forfeiture." Effective immediately, the federal government will help state and local police agencies keep cash or other assets they have seized on suspicion of ties to state crimes. Agencies can keep such property permanently even if no one is ever convicted.

New safeguards will help prevent abuses, the department said in a directive to U.S. attorneys and other Justice Department officials announcing the new policy.


7US GA: Student In Drug Search Felt 'violated'Sun, 11 Jun 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Schrade, Brad Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:06/11/2017

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed last week against a south Georgia sheriff offers new details of the bizarre school-wide search of hundreds of students where deputies allegedly touched girls' breasts, vaginal areas and groped boys in their groins.

One of the nine Worth County High School students who filed the lawsuit, identified as K.P., told the AJC that the April 14 search was "very, very scary." She said the incident was stuck in her memory and it colored the rest of her senior year.

The day of the search, she said, students didn't know what was happening when an announcement was made early in the day that the school was on lock-down.


8US GA: Georgia, Feds Diverge On Policy For SentencingSat, 13 May 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Bluestein, Greg Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:05/13/2017

Even as Gov. Nathan Deal was signing the latest batch of state laws designed to keep lower-level offenders out of prison, the Trump administration was preparing a crackdown seeking the toughest possible charges against offenders convicted of nonviolent drug violations.

The U.S. Justice Department released directives Friday that call for more mandatory minimum sentences and direct prosecutors to pursue the strictest punishments available. It was a sweeping shift in criminal justice policy, reversing Obama-era policies to reduce penalties for some nonviolent offenses.

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9US GA: Column: Atlanta's Pot Laws DiscriminateMon, 08 May 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Torpy, Bill Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:05/08/2017

The Atlanta City Council is considering making the penalty for getting caught with pot similar to finding a parking ticket flapping on your windshield.

The effort is based on the idea that black residents are overwhelmingly the target of marijuana enforcement in the city, staining them with jail time, fines and arrest records that follow them in life.

The effort was put forward by Councilman Kwanza Hall, a mayoral candidate who has tried to carve out his place in the crowded mayor's race by pushing to do away with some quality-of-life offenses such as spitting, jay walking, idling and loitering - things one often does while smoking weed.


10US GA: Marijuana: Easing Laws Not So EasySun, 23 Apr 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Stafford, Leon Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:04/26/2017

Atlanta wants to join a growing number of U.S. cities that are lowering the penalties for small amounts of marijuana use.

But leaders learned last week that getting there won't be easy.

The City Council sent legislation meant to lower fines and eliminate jail time for possession of an ounce or less of pot back to a committee last week after members had a host of questions. Chief among their concerns was whether there was buy-in from the Atlanta Police Department and city courts, two groups whose backing would be crucial to making such a plan work. Elected officials also fear that being too lenient would take away the deterrent of marijuana use.

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11US GA: City Puts Off Vote To Ease Pot PenaltyTue, 18 Apr 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Stafford, Leon Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:04/21/2017

After more than 90 minutes of debate and no consensus, the Atlanta City Council on Monday put off a vote on a measure that would have eliminated jail time for those caught with small quantities of marijuana.

Advocates of the Atlanta legislation said the move is necessary to address the disproportionate number of black Americans incarcerated because of pot possession.

The proposal, which also would reduce the fine for possession of an ounce or less to a maximum of $75, mirrors actions taken in cities across the nation, including Dallas, Kansas City and St. Louis. In DeKalb County, Clarkson also has reduced penalties.

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12US GA: Compromise Reached On Medical PotFri, 17 Mar 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Torres, Kristina Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:03/17/2017

Lawmakers appear to have reached a compromise Thursday that would expand Georgia's medical marijuana law.

The agreement over Senate Bill 16 would add six illnesses and conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to include Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette's syndrome. It would additionally allow use for patients in hospice care, according to both state Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, and state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon.

It would also keep the maximum allowable THC percentage in the form of cannabis oil allowed here at 5 percent.


13US GA: Haleigh's HopeSun, 05 Mar 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Kincaid, Adam Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:03/09/2017

Janea Cox, her husband Brian, their 7-year-old daughter Haleigh and their chocolate Lab Kala left their Forsyth home in December 2016 for their semi-annual trip to Colorado. They flew into Denver and made their way toward Colorado Springs in a rental car, squeezing the three of them, a wheelchair and the dog into the small, four-door sedan. A handicap-equipped van would have been better, but the economy ride was what they could afford.

The family checked into a budget hotel and went to sleep; not that they ever sleep well, or for very long. Young Haleigh was up through the night, as usual. She has epilepsy so severe she requires constant oversight. For most of her life, her young brain hasn't been seizure-free long enough to develop normally. So she gets around in a wheelchair, receives nourishment through a feeding tube and is barely able to communicate. Haleigh is a prisoner in her own body.

She also has type one diabetes. Kala is a service dog specially trained to check blood sugar levels by smell and alert handlers of spikes - to do what Haleigh cannot do for herself, to speak out when she needs help.


14US GA: Cannabis Oil Backers Fight Cut In PotencyWed, 15 Feb 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Torrres, Kristina Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:02/15/2017

Jim "J-Bo" Wages and his wife, Lisa, made the decision a few years ago to wean their daughter off of pharmaceutical drugs, becoming one of the first families in 2015 to qualify for Georgia's then-new medical marijuana registry.

Since then, they've seen Sydney blossom. She's eating more, has better awareness of what is going on around her. Last week, they caught her laughing as her older sister tickled her stomach before bedtime - a reaction neither had seen in years.

The 13-year-old, who has autism and suffers from intractable seizures, has benefited from the state's medical marijuana law, her parents said. But they are afraid others won't.


15US GA: State House Committee Passes Medical Marijuana ExpansionThu, 29 Dec 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)          Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:12/29/2016

A key state House committee passed legislation Wednesday that would expand the list of medical conditions that can be treated with cannabis oil.

House Bill 722 would add HIV/AIDS, epidermolysis bullosa, post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette's syndrome and other disorders and illnesses to the list of qualifying medical conditions for the state's cannabis oil program.

Lawmakers passed legislation last year that legalized cannabis oil for the treatment of eight disorders.

"We're going to improve the lives of a significant amount of Georgians by the passing of this bill," said bill sponsor Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon. "Not as many as I would've liked."

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16US GA: Medical Marijuana Push Criticized By Georgia ProsecutorsThu, 29 Dec 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)          Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:12/29/2016

The effort to expand Georgia's medical marijuana law continued Friday to receive pointed criticism, as supporters struggle to gain support from the state's law enforcement community.

Chuck Spahos, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia, testified during a brief hearing before the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee that he believes House Bill 722 would too broad and, in some spots, contradictory toward its goal of allowing Georgia manufacturers to grow and cultivate medical marijuana in-state under strict controls.

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17 US GA: Suspect Killed During Drug RaidTue, 13 Dec 2016
Source:Macon Telegraph (GA) Author:Fabian, Liz Area:Georgia Lines:134 Added:12/15/2016

A Crawford County man was shot and killed Monday after he allegedly fired a shotgun at police officers who were serving a search warrant in a drug case.

About eight officers working with the Peach County Drug Task Force were dressed in protective gear as they went to the home of Rainer Tyler Smith, 31, at 6750 Ga. 42 South shortly after 2 a.m., said J.T. Ricketson, of the GBI.

"No one came to the door, so they made entry, and as soon as they made it inside, one of the occupants started shooting," said Ricketson, special agent in charge of the GBI's Perry office.

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18US GA: Column: The Debate Of Marijuana Use In Georgia ContinuesThu, 01 Dec 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Galloway, Jim Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:12/05/2016

The debate over whether Georgia will become a safer space for marijuana, in medicinal or any other form, is poised to pick up speed next year. But only if the incoming Donald Trump administration doesn't shut it down.

And with the nomination of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama as the nation's next U.S. attorney general, that has become a distinct possibility.

On the same November day that voters handed the New York businessman the keys to the White House, four states - California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada - approved the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

Three more - Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota - passed ballot initiatives that legalized the use of marijuana derivatives for medicinal purposes.


19US GA: Column: After Cops Killed Widow, What Changed?Thu, 24 Nov 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Torpy, Bill Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:11/29/2016

A decade ago, a little old lady living behind burglar bars in a rough Atlanta neighborhood died in a fusillade of bullets in her own living room. The invaders were cops on an illegal raid searching for drugs that never existed.

A week after the Nov. 21, 2006, killing of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, then-Mayor Shirley Franklin faced an angry crowd at Lindsay Street Baptist Church on the near West Side. For four hours, residents harangued officials with stories about cops kicking in doors with unsigned warrants or teens getting slammed to the pavement simply for hanging around.

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20US GA: Players Union Open To Pot StudyTue, 15 Nov 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Ledbetter, D. Orlando Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:11/18/2016

FLOWERY BRANCH - The NFLPA is not leaving any stones unturned when trying to look out for the wellness of its membership, even if the latest stone is currently banned.

The union, which represents the players in the NFL, is actively looking at marijuana as a pain-management tool and plans to form a committee to study the benefits of the drug.

Marijuana is a banned substance under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement between the union and the NFL. The agreement runs through 2020.

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21US GA: Column: Remembering Kathryn JohnstonSun, 30 Oct 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Staples, Gracie Bonds Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:10/30/2016

I keep trying to imagine how frightened Kathryn Johnston, 92, must have been that night police stormed her Elm Street home. Here's what we know about the last minutes of her life.

Sometime around 7 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2006, three Atlanta police officers, dressed in plainclothes and wearing bulletproof vests, forced Johnston's front door open.

Johnson fired on the officers but missed. They returned 39 shots, hitting her five or six times. Prosecutors would later say that one of them, Officer Jason R. Smith, handcuffed the elderly woman as she was dying.

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22US GA: City Tries Progressive Law On PotSun, 18 Sep 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Niesse, Mark Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:09/22/2016

In the mellow suburban town of Clarkston, where aging hippies mingle easily with refugees, arrests for marijuana violations were never a top priority.

So it wasn't much of a surprise when the city passed Georgia's most relaxed marijuana law, reducing the fine for possession of less than an ounce of the drug to $75.

That was two and a half months ago. In that time, town leaders and residents are proud to say, the law has resulted in absolutely no changes. Clarkston is still Clarkston, not a drug haven.

As more time passes, some say, leaders of other cities might look at the town and see that nothing bad happens when you get rid of $1,000 fines and threats of a criminal record for marijuana consumption.


23US GA: 7.8 Million Opioid Presciptions: Is Georgia Overdosing?Sun, 18 Sep 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Redmon, Jeremy Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:09/22/2016

Since it opened in February, the narcotics treatment center Zac Talbott co-owns in North Georgia has been booming, admitting more than 250 people with addictions to painkillers and heroin amid a nationwide opioid overdose epidemic that is killing thousands of people each year.

For Talbott, the work is personal. He started using pain pills for minor back pain when he was in graduate school. That habit spiraled into an addiction, and he started buying pills on the street. Talbott eventually got help and has been recovering for several years.

So he was dismayed when he learned just how many pain medication prescriptions were issued in Georgia last year: a whopping 7.8 million, equivalent to more than one prescription for every single adult in the Peach State.


24 US GA: Locals Weigh In On Pot CategoryTue, 23 Aug 2016
Source:Rome News-Tribune (GA) Author:Lahr, Spencer Area:Georgia Lines:116 Added:08/24/2016

The DEA announces it will keep marijuana on the list of most dangerous drugs.

In the eyes of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, marijuana is still considered dangerous enough to remain among the likes of heroin, LSD, and ecstasy as a Schedule I drug.

Ever since The Controlled Substances Act became law in 1970, marijuana has been deemed to have no medicinal benefits and a high likelihood of abuse. And despite over half the states in the U.S. legalizing medical or recreational marijuana in some form, the DEA announced this month that marijuana wouldn't be declassified.

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25 US GA: More States Lift Welfare Restrictions for Drug FelonsWed, 17 Aug 2016
Source:Walker County Messenger (GA) Author:Wiltz, Teresa Area:Georgia Lines:180 Added:08/16/2016

ATLANTA - Twenty years after a federal law blocked people with felony drug convictions from receiving welfare or food stamps, more states are loosening those restrictions - or waiving them entirely.

In April, Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, signed a criminal justice reform bill that lifted the ban on food stamps for drug felons in Georgia. Alaska followed suit in July, although applicants must prove they are complying with parole and are in treatment for substance abuse. And in Delaware, a bill to lift cash assistance restrictions for drug felons passed out of committee in June. The legislative session ended before the bill could be put to a vote.

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26US GA: Ruling Stuns Medical Pot AdvocatesMon, 15 Aug 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Torres, Kristina Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:08/15/2016

Feds Keep Marijuana on the List of Most Dangerous Drugs.

Federal officials' announcement last week to keep marijuana on the list of most dangerous drugs has stunned Georgia advocates, who called it "insane" and said it would hurt families trying to access a form of medical marijuana legally allowed here.

"The impact on Georgia's families could be huge, as it could further delay getting access to safe, lab-tested product here in Georgia," said Blaine Cloud, who with his wife, Shannon, have been at the forefront of an organized push by parents to expand Georgia's year-old medical marijuana law.

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27US GA: Some Georgia Parents Frustrated by Federal MedicalMon, 15 Aug 2016
Source:Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)          Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:08/15/2016

MACON, Ga. (AP) - Medical marijuana supporters in Georgia were hoping for something different from the federal government, not its recent ruling that cannabis should remain off-limits.

Georgians like Janea Cox of Monroe County want to be able to get medical cannabis just like other prescriptions instead of breaking the law to seek therapies for themselves or their loved ones, The Telegraph reported.

It was difficult to hear news of Thursday's ruling from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Cox told the Macon newspaper. The agency decided marijuana will remain on the list of most dangerous drugs, which includes heroin See page 16

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28US GA: Column: Medical Pot Has Financial ImpactWed, 27 Jul 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Mathis, George Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:07/29/2016

Georgia may never =93free the weed=94 but legalized medical marijuana could save taxpayers millions, say University of Georgia researchers.

In a recent study, the father-daughter team of David and Ashley Bradford say in the 17 states with a medical marijuana law in place by 2013, Medicare saved approximately $165.2 million because of lower prescription drug use.

If medical marijuana was approved in every state, the overall savings to Medicare would have been around $468 million. That's a lot of green. David Bradford said he knows medical marijuana is a controversial topic, and some view it as a backdoor way of legalizing recreational marijuana, but research indicates =93there's a significant amount of clinical use at work here.=94

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29 US GA: PUB LTE: GOP Will Guarantee Clinton Win In Nov.Fri, 22 Jul 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Varn, Donald Area:Georgia Lines:20 Added:07/25/2016

The GOP's rejection of medical marijuana shows just how out of touch the party really is. They're a half-century behind the times.

How can they possibly think they have a viable political platform? It's just another reason why they will guarantee Hillary Clinton's election.



30US GA: Obstacles Remain For Medical MarijuanaThu, 14 Jul 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Torres, Kristina Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:07/17/2016

While Usage Is Legal in Some Cases, It Still Can't Be Grown in the State.

The phones at the Georgia Department of Public Health no longer ring off the hook with people calling to find doctors or asking questions about how the state's medical marijuana registry works.

Yet Georgia's quiet revolution in the year since it legalized a limited form of medical marijuana has shown little sign of slowing. Even so, obstacles and risks remain in the push for expansion.

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31US GA: Clarkston Reduces Marijuana PunishmentThu, 07 Jul 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Thompson, Laura Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:07/12/2016

The Clarkston City Council has voted unanimously to approve the most liberal marijuana ordinance in the state, reducing fine from up to $1,000 to $75 for possessing less than an ounce, and eliminating the possibility of jail time for breaking municipal law.

"We just made history," whispered Sharon Ravert, a Dahlonega resident and advocate for marijuana legalization, when she saw the council's seven hands raised in unison on Tuesday.

Mayor Ted Terry has argued that drug law enforcement "disproportionately affects lower income communities and communities of color." As the state's hotbed for refugee resettlement, Clarkston is one of the most diverse cities in the state. According to census statistics, the city of 12,000 is nearly 60 percent black and 53.5 percent foreign born.

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32US GA: GOP Rejects Medical-pot BidTue, 12 Jul 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Galloway, Jim Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:07/12/2016

Georgia Man Says Drug Beneficial for Autistic Son.

CLEVELAND - Dale Jackson, the father of an 8-yearold autistic son, flew up to the site of the Republican National Convention on Monday to ask his party's platform committee to endorse the use of medicinal marijuana where appropriate.

He wanted to take Georgia's fight national.

Jackson found a delegate who would pitch the idea, but his luck ended there. The 112-member committee that is currently drafting policy positions for the 2016 presidential contest rejected it out of hand, by a voice vote of two-thirds or more.

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33US GA: Column: Clarkston Taking The Lead On Weed? It's High TimeThu, 28 Apr 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Torpy, Bill Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:05/02/2016

Clarkston's effort to decriminalize pot has Gov. Nathan Deal and the state's chief law enforcement officers tsk-tsking because that's what governors and chief law enforcement people figure they must do when it comes to "drugs."

Drugs are bad. Marijuana is a gateway drug. Guys who smoke too much weed will grow man boobs. You've heard the Reefer Madness excuses before.

But Clarkston's on to something.

Arresting people for possession of small amounts of marijuana - less than an ounce - is a crime in and of itself. It's an inane use of government resources and brands people with a big green leafy M, one that will follow them for years and continually close doors to them.

Clarkston is a different sort of place, a town where I saw three separate women carrying groceries on their heads during a short visit. It has became Ground Zero for the refugee resettlement debate in an era when many Americans have hardened their outlooks on immigration.


34US GA: State To Lift Food Stamp Ban For Drug FelonsWed, 27 Apr 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Schneider, Craig Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:04/28/2016

Governor Expected to Sign Proposals Backed by Justice Reform Panel.

The change could help some 6,600 Georgians rejected each year for food stamps because they are convicted drug felons, according to research by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

Every time Norvell Lawhorne applied for food stamps, he was turned down because he was a convicted drug felon. That conviction has made it harder to find a job, housing and even food. He now makes his bed in an Atlanta homeless shelter.

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35 US GA: Medical Cannabis Resolution Overwhelmingly ApprovedSun, 24 Apr 2016
Source:Times-Herald (GA) Author:Campbell, Sarah Fay Area:Georgia Lines:70 Added:04/24/2016

Delegates at the Third District Republican Convention last weekend overwhelmingly voiced their support for the expansion of Georgia's laws on cannabis/marijuana-derived medicine, and for allowing the medicine to be produced in Georgia.

A resolution supporting expanding the number of conditions that can be treated with oil containing cannabidiol (CBD), a component of marijuana, and in-state cultivation of cannabis used to make the oil, passed with very little opposition at the convention, held April 16 in Newnan.

The resolution passed on a voice vote. Dale Jackson, Third District chairman for the Georgia Republican Party and a lobbyist for medical cannabis, said there were approximately 200 delegates and he only saw about three 'no' votes.

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36 US GA: Macon Lawyer Pleads Guilty In Federal Drug CaseWed, 20 Apr 2016
Source:Macon Telegraph (GA) Author:Womack, Amy Leigh Area:Georgia Lines:83 Added:04/20/2016

A Macon attorney admitted Wednesday she participated in a drug deal in the parking lot of a Church's Chicken restaurant on Hardeman Avenue, near Interstate 75 and downtown Macon, in June 2015.

[name redacted], 36, pleaded guilty to possession of oxycodone and methamphetamine, with intent to distribute both drugs, during a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

A federal judge agreed to allow [name redacted] to remain on bond until her July 6 sentencing hearing. She could face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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37 US GA: OPED: Government Power Invites CorruptionWed, 13 Apr 2016
Source:Rome News-Tribune (GA)          Area:Georgia Lines:54 Added:04/14/2016

Sometimes the curtain is pulled aside, allowing us to see what's going on in the often-opaque worlds of government and finance. Such an occasion has been happening with what's being called the Panama Papers, released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. It's going to take not months, but years, to wade through the estimated 11 million documents leaked from a Panamanian law firm that specializes in crafting tax shelters.

But initial disclosures are both troubling and offer insight. "The documents reference 12 current or former world leaders, as well as 128 other politicians and public officials," CNN reported. Implicated, in particular, are associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin; FIFA, the global soccer governing body, 40 of whose officials were indicted in 2015 by the U.S. Justice Department on corruption charges; and Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson.

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38 US GA: OPED: DEA Should Get Real On PotWed, 13 Apr 2016
Source:Rome News-Tribune (GA)          Area:Georgia Lines:53 Added:04/14/2016

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means it has no medicinal value and is highly addictive.

But the Drug Enforcement Administration is, once again, considering moving it to a less restrictive category that better reflects both its danger and the undeniable facts on the ground - that nearly half the states in the nation allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and several allow it to be used recreationally. The DEA told lawmakers that it intends to make a decision by July.

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39US GA: Georgia City May Decriminalize PotFri, 08 Apr 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Bluestein, Greg Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:04/12/2016

Clarkston leaders may try to make their city the first in Georgia to decriminalize marijuana.

Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry said the City Council's public safety committee this month will review whether to make possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana a ticket-only offense, putting it on the same level as a run-of-the-mill traffic violation. He expects the full council to bring it to a vote as early as May.

"The bottom line is the War on Drugs has failed," said Terry, also a vice chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia. "It is time for elected officials to use evidence-based policies to make our communities safer and fight drug abuse."

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40US GA: Clarkston's Legalization ChallengedSat, 09 Apr 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Torres, Kristina Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:04/12/2016

Mayor Ted Terry may want to make Clarkston the first Georgia city to decriminalize marijuana, but one of the state's leading law enforcement advocates had a blunt message about the effort: No way.

"The only thing I can say about that is no municipal government has the authority to decriminalize anything that the Georgia General Assembly and federal government still say is a crime," said Chuck Spahos, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia.

"State law and federal law will still apply to the citizens within the municipality" even if Clarkston enacts the proposal, said Spahos, who is also solicitor general in Henry County.

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41US GA: Families Willing to Break Law to Acquire MedicalMon, 21 Mar 2016
Source:Times, The (Gainesville, GA) Author:Silavent, Joshua Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:03/21/2016

Mothers Not Waiting on Further Changes in Cannabis Oil Laws

Civil disobedience is as American as baseball, but the writer Henry David Thoreau could never have imagined what issues would inspire such symbolic acts come the 21st century.

For example, Georgia parents who treat their children with cannabis oil to manage seizures, including several in Hall County and Northeast Georgia, are publicly stating that they are willing to break the law, if necessary, to acquire cannabis oil.

It's the latest fault line in the medical marijuana fight, pitting patients and their families against law enforcement.

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42US GA: Families Swear by Cannabis Oil's Effect, butSun, 20 Mar 2016
Source:Times, The (Gainesville, GA) Author:Silavent, Joshua Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:03/21/2016

Bill in State Senate Would Expand Conditions, Allow for In-State Production of Drug

Proposals to expand the use, cultivation and distribution of cannabis oil in Georgia are on life support as the state legislature enters its final week of action for 2016.

But families who swear by the effectiveness of the drug know what a lifesaver it can be.

A vote stalled in the Senate on House Bill 722 that would expand the number of conditions that can be treated with cannabis oil, even after plans for in-state manufacturing of the drug were scrapped.

[continues 612 words]

43 US GA: Bill To Halt New Treatment CentersSat, 19 Mar 2016
Source:Rome News-Tribune (GA)          Area:Georgia Lines:31 Added:03/20/2016

CHICKAMAUGA - Legislation placing a temporary moratorium on new narcotic treatment centers passed the Georgia House of Representatives, 169-0, and awaits the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal.

The legislation was filed by Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, out of concern over the growing number of centers alongside an increase in heroin addiction.

Georgia is ranked third nationally in the number of narcotic treatment centers, with 63 currently operating within the state. Mullis said heroin use and overdoses in Georgia have skyrocketed in the last five years, a stark contradiction of the large number of treatment centers aimed at reducing addiction rates.

Senate Bill 402 halts new licensing until June 30, 2017. It also creates a state commission to study the licensure process as well as the density of existing narcotic treatment centers within the state.



44US GA: Georgia House Passes Medical Marijuana BillTue, 01 Mar 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Sheinin, Aaron Gould Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:03/02/2016

The Georgia House on Monday overwhelmingly approved House Bill 722, which would expand the list of ailments that qualify for the state's limited medical marijuana program.

By a vote of 152-8, the House sent state Rep. Allen Peake's bill to the Senate.

Peake, a Macon Republican, said the bill moves the ball forward but falls short of what he had hoped to accomplish this year. HB 722 originally would have created a state-sponsored program to grow, cultivate and manufacture medical marijuana in Georgia, but opposition from law enforcement put an end to that.

Instead, it adds several disorders to the list of diseases that qualifies for the state program. But patients will still have to risk arrest by traveling out of state to obtain the medication.


45US GA: Medical Pot Cultivation AxedTue, 23 Feb 2016
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Diaz, Laura Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:02/23/2016

The author of legislation aimed at expanding the state's medical marijuana law said he won't continue to push for cultivation in Georgia this year after the bill ran into problems in committee Monday.

The House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee eliminated a provision in House Bill 722 that would have allowed limited cultivation and production of cannabis oil. The bill would also increase the number of diseases for which marijuana could be used.

Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, wasn't happy about the change.

[continues 155 words]

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