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Georgia lawmakers include marijuana decriminalization in policing reform bill

6/19/20--Georgia lawmakers included a provision to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession as part of a recently filed comprehensive policing reform bill. The Georgia Justice Act, which Senate Democrats introduced to coincide with the reconvening of the legislation session this week, covers a wide range of issues such as police body cameras, no-knock warrants, racial profiling, demilitarizing law enforcement and cannabis policy reform. Read

Grady drug unit busts pot-growing operation

5/15/20--The Grady County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit has submitted a request for a judge to issue arrest warrants for a husband and wife who they say were behind a massive drug cultivation operation run from their home in a southern Grady County residential neighborhood. Read

19 charged after cops find $284K in semi’s hidden compartment, $3.8 million in cocaine in separate location

3/13/20--Georgia police say that they’ve broken up a major drug ring after they discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash stashed in a semi truck during a traffic stop earlier this month. Nineteen people were charge in connection with a large scale drug ring that allegedly distributed cocaine and marijuana throughout central Georgia. Read

Highway safety group honors Gary Robinson, MADD South Georgia

3/11/20--A group representing law enforcement officers in Southern Georgia presented a plaque of appreciation last week to MADD South Georgia and Gary Robinson, community site coordinator for the South Georgia chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The award came from the Southern Region Traffic Enforcement Network, one of 16 such networks across the state under the leadership of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Read

Georgia Hemp Processor Permit Application Available

3/3/20--Georgians interested in processing hemp can now apply for a Hemp Processing Permit. The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) requires any person processing or intending to process hemp to hold a valid Hemp Processor Permit before receiving, processing, handling or storing hemp. Read

Ga Appeals Court weighs in on qualifications of smelling weed

2/2/20--Last month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued an opinion with regard to a case involving a juvenile that will undoubtedly set a precedent for trial courts in Georgia to weigh when an officer is qualified to distinguish the smell of marijuana. The Court determined that an officer “must testify as to his training and experience in marijuana odor detection for his observance of the smell of marijuana to constitute reasonable suspicion.” The state did not appeal the decision to the state’s high court within the necessary 10-day period. Read

Many farmers oppose Georgia’s strict hemp growing rules

9/25/19--While Georgians can buy CBD oil in nutrition stores and gas stations, the product is farmed, processed, and shipped from out of state. Forty-one states already have hemp farming programs, and Georgia farmers want to get in on the action now that the General Assembly allowed it, but they’re having to wait for regulations to be approved. Read

Gwinnett solicitor on marijuana: ‘It’s out there, so let’s make it legal’

10/3/19--There's  and the man pushing the idea and organizing lawmakers is a prosecutor. Gwinnett County Solicitor Brian Whiteside is pushing a new proposal to legalize all forms of marijuana in Georgia. He says the time has come and thinks it could help raise some $4 billion in tax revenue. Read

Queer roots and major players in Georgia’s medical marijuana boom

10/4/19--Many LGBTQ people are at the center of the growth of the marijuana industry. Colton Griffin, CEO of Flourish, an Atlanta-based company that helps medical marijuana companies monitor logistics, is one of the LGBTQ people playing a role in Georgia’s booming medical marijuana business. Read

How Georgia’s CBD pioneers are changing minds

9/19/19--As Georgia’s laws have shifted, CBD entrepreneurs are vying to become the brands of choice among wellness-focused consumers who may never before have experienced this new breed of nutraceutical. Yet, while cannabis laws have loosened in many U.S. states, Georgia’s cannabis laws are among the most restrictive in the nation; focusing only on hemp and its byproduct CBD, which can be sold only under tight constraints and through a limited number of licenses. Read

Georgia officials confirm 5 lung cases tied to vaping; others probed

9/20/19--State public health officials have confirmed five cases of vaping-related lung illnesses in Georgia, with another 10 being investigated. Those figures, released this week, add to the CDC’s national total of at least 380 confirmed and probable cases in 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Read

Encore: Legal marijuana is a danger to dogs

9/22/19--According to Dr. John de Jong, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, in states that have legalized marijuana, there has been an increase in the incidence of marijuana toxicity in pets, especially in dogs. Calls to ASPCA's National Animal Poison Control Center has increased sevenfold since last year, not only because of legalization, but also because weed products now have higher levels of THC. Read

Alcovy Circuit will not file blanket dismissals of marijuana charges following state hemp law

8/23/19--District attorneys across Georgia have released varying opinions on the prosecution of marijuana cases. As it stands, law enforcement can test for the presence of THC, but are unable to test for the amount, meaning they would not be able to determine if a substance was illegal marijuana or legalized hemp. Alcovy Judicial Circuit District Attorney Layla Zon says she still intends to prosecute the cases, but will individually review the evidence once testing becomes available if a defendant claims to possess hemp. Read

High stakes: What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?

8/22/19--Early in May, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, which legalized hemp production in the state to help farmers get into this industry and promote economic development. However, since hemp and marijuana are so similar in look and smell, a growing number of prosecutors across the state are putting a pause on marijuana charges. Marijuana is still not legal in the state, but law enforcement cannot accurately tell the difference between the substances right now. Read

Speaker Ralston vows new Ga. Hemp law won’t lead to recreational weed

8/21/19--House Speaker David Ralston told a legislative panel focused on rural Georgia Tuesday that he was baffled by the metro Atlanta departments’ decision to dismiss misdemeanor cases or no longer charge people for small amounts of pot, citing their inability to distinguish the difference between marijuana and now-legal hemp. Ralston said a new testing system was in the works at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that will nip the situation in the bud. Read

Authorities: Georgia deputy gave alcohol to underage drinkers. Now he faces drug charges, too

8/22/19--David Tyler Gibson, a Georgia deputy, has been fired and arrested after authorities say he provided alcohol to underage drinkers. Following his arrest, Gibson was fired. A search warrant of his home led to additional charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug-related objects and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Read

Marijuana reform could be key in 2020

8/12/19--Georgia State Representative Dar’shun Kendrick, (D – Lithonia) is addressing marijuana reform in the state, and she plans to introduce legislation regarding marijuana use in Georgia as well as record expungement for marijuana-related convictions in 2020. Kendrick also plans to introduce legislation in 2020 that would create a committee to study financing options, including low-interest loans to increase minority participation in the marijuana industry. Read

LA law firm Margolin & Lawrence help Georgians with hemp licensing process as new law goes into effect

7/10/19--Los Angeles law firm Margolin & Lawrence, a longtime leader in marijuana licensing and compliance, is now working in Georgia with a farmer in Candler County and others to help them efficiently navigate what can be a fraught licensing process. Read

Decatur parents arrested in infant’s drug-related death

7/9/19--Police have arrested the Decatur parents of an infant who allegedly died after ingesting an overdose of prescription drugs at their home. On Tuesday, DeKalb sheriffs arrested Rachelle Rattrey and Tabares Tony Wadley on charges of felony second degree murder, felony second degree child cruelty, and misdemeanor violation of the Georgia controlled substance act (possession of an ounce of less of marijuana). Read

In Macon, it’s just a ticket for some cannabis

7/9/19--Previously, in Macon-Bibb County, you could get a $1,000 fine and serve up to a year in jail for marijuana possession. Earlier this year, however, county commissioners voted to reduce the penalty to a $75 ticket for an ounce or less of pot with no possibility of jail time. Read

Charlotte men caught with $200,000 in marijuana on Georgia highway

6/13/19--Phetprasong Souriyo, 34, Brandy Souriyo, 28, and Somphone Thongkhamdy, 30, were arrested in Georgia and charged with trafficking marijuana on June 11, 2019. Authorities said they seized about 70 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of more than $200,000. This arrest is part of an ongoing investigation into the trafficking of marijuana along Interstate 85 from metro Atlanta north to neighboring states. Read

97 pounds of marijuana seized, 3 arrested at Atlanta airport

5/10/19--Three people were arrested on drug trafficking charges Sunday after authorities found nearly 100 pounds of marijuana and THC vape pens in their luggage at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the GBI said. There have been a series of high-profile drug arrests at Atlanta’s airport in recent months. In February, four men on a flight from Las Vegas were arrested after authorities discovered 224 pounds of pot in their suitcases. Read

Augusta explores municipal marijuana farm

5/13/19--The city of Augusta owns roughly 600 acres of fallow farm land southeast of downtown. Twenty-five acres of that land are suitable for supporting a municipal marijuana farm. County Commissioner William Fennoy, in whose district the land is located, said he sees the potential for an influx of revenue flowing to the city coffers, but he also has some concerns regarding start-up costs. Read

CBD In Georgia: From medicine cabinets to Metro Atlanta cocktails

5/13/19--Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday signed a bill into law that allows Georgia farmers to grow hemp. The crop is the source of products ranging from rope to soap to CBD oil. It is suddenly a ubiquitous trend, showing up even on Atlanta menus. Read

New medicinal marijuana bill gives many families hope

4/24/19--Governor Kemp has made it legal for up to six private entities to grow marijuana in the state of Georgia for medical purposes only. The bill also signs off on two research centers. Under this new law, medicinal marijuana cannot be advertised, smoked or vaped, and can only be recommended for sixteen different conditions. According to State Representative and doctor, Mark Newton, this law could make a difference for some Georgia families. Read

Medical marijuana in Georgia: legal to have, but illegal to get

3/20/19--The Georgia House approved a bill earlier this month that would allow medical marijuana to be sold to registered patients. Yet, as for getting it from a legal source, patients are on their own. You can’t legally buy it, sell it or bring the drug into Georgia from another state. That could change in the coming weeks if legislators make medical marijuana available not only in theory, but practice too. Read

Catoosa Sheriff: Go to Colorado and enjoy marijuana

3/9/19--During a press conference, several Northwest Georgia sheriffs agreed that the Georgia House is “rushing” to pass House Bill 324, allowing for manufacturing of cannabis for production of low-level THC oil. Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk supports their position on being strictly against the bill’s approval. Some of the sheriffs’ concerns stemmed from the opinion that the passing of this bill would be a gateway for legalizing recreational marijuana. Read

Puff, puff, possession

3/11/19--Georgia State lawmakers are now addressing marijuana possession by introducing Senate Bill 10. Under current state law, one ounce of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor; SB 10 would amend possession of up to two ounces a misdemeanor. Some advocates say the legislation is a step toward decriminalizing marijuana in Georgia. Read

General Assembly eyeing next step in medical marijuana

3/1/19--Georgia took the first step away from a total ban on marijuana four years ago with the passage of legislation legalizing possession of cannabis oil with a prescription for patients suffering from cancer, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, mitochondrial disease and sickle-cell anemia. Read

Georgia House committee passes medical marijuana bill

3/1/19--A bill proposed by Republican Rep. Micah Gravley of Douglasville moved through a House committee that would that would allow the production and sale of low-potency medical marijuana oil within Georgia. To survive, the bill must pass the full House by Thursday, the deadline for bills to pass out of one legislative chamber. Bills that don't make it past this point are generally considered dead. Yet, the measure's main supporter remains optimistic. Read

Georgia bill seeks in-state medical marijuana growing and sales

2/14/19--Legislation filed Thursday would allow medical marijuana oil to be sold to patients in Georgia. The proposal calls for medical marijuana dispensaries to serve the state’s rising number of registered patients — more than 8,400 so far. The drug would be legally grown, manufactured, tested, tracked, and distributed for the first time if House Bill 324 passes. Read

Update: Officials say Macon restaurant using Cannabidiol in food is a health violation

2/4/19--Harp & Bowl LA Bistro in downtown Macon started using CBD oil in some of its dishes, but the owner, Charlotte Ethridge, stated she will now stop doing so because the Georgia Department of Public Health says the use of Cannabidiol "as a food additive" is in violation of Georgia Food Service Rules and Regulations because it's not approved by the FDA. Read

Medical cannabis bill coming in a few weeks

1/30/19--Legislators introducing a bill expanding access to medical marijuana in Georgia is being crafted on the House side, and will go through the House of Representatives before heading over to the Senate, according to State Sen. Matt Brass, former co-chairman of the Joint Study Commission on Low THC Medical Oil Access. Read

CBMJ places Super Bowl ads for Baristas EnrichaRoast CBD Coffee

1/16/19--Canna Consumer Goods, Inc. / DBA Canna Broadcast Media has successfully placed ads for Baristas EnrichaRoast CBD Coffee at Super Bowl LIII. This is the first time any Marijuana related product will be seen at a Super Bowl, making this a ground-breaking moment. Read

Local cannabis company sells to Georgia firm

1/15/19--Surterra Wellness, a Georgia company with marijuana operations in Florida, Texas, and Nevada, announced on Monday that it has signed a deal to purchase New England Treatment Access, which operates a recreational marijuana store in Northampton, a medical dispensary in Brookline, and a cultivation facility in Franklin. Read

GA lawmaker proposes more lenient regulations for marijuana possession

1/15/19--Democrat Senator Harold Jones of Augusta filed Senate Bill 10 to alter the criminality and punishment of misdemeanor marijuana possession in Georgia. Current state law sets possession of marijuana in the amount of “one ounce or less” as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to a year in jail. Jones’ proposal would increase the possession cap at two ounces, essentially doubling what encompasses a misdemeanor crime in Georgia. Read

Editorial: Medical marijuana: Anything’s better than what we have now

1/15/19--There has been much confusion over the issue of marijuana for medical use in Georgia. The law passed by the Georgia General Assembly in 2015 makes specific exceptions for researchers in possession of the low-THC oil in apparent hopes of getting more reliable information about how well it works. But the 2015 law specifically makes it a crime to produce or sell the oil in Georgia, and federal law makes it illegal to transport it across state lines. As stated in the editorial published in The Moulrie Observer, the legislature ought to approve a path so patients who need the drug can legally obtain it. Read

Veterans lobby to leagalize growing hemp and extracting CBD oil in Georgia

1/15/19--Veterans for Cannabis, a Georgia-based veterans' organization, wants lawmakers to consider legalizing growing hemp and extracting cannabidiol (CBD) oil. The organization's founder Joshua Littrell wants the law to change. He plans to lobby during the current legislative session to get a bill passed that would allow everyone in the state to grow hemp and extract CBD oil. Read

Push on for in-state cannabis cultivation

1/6/19--Proponents of expanded medical marijuana access are gearing up for a push for in-state cultivation this month, when a new administration and more than two dozen new lawmakers converge under the Gold Dome for a new legislative session. The recommendations of the commission, issued last month, first urge Congress to act by rescheduling marijuana, freeing the low THC oil for distribution. Read

How recommendation for cannabis oil production could benefit local families

1/4/19--Access to marijuana for medical use in Georgia has remained elusive for families in need. In fact, some patients and their families say they felt forced to break federal and state laws by acquiring the drug in places like California and Colorado, and transporting it back home. The legislative Joint Study Commission on Low THC Medical Oil Access have convened a number of meetings in 2018 to explore how to open access in Georgia to the drug for thousands of registered patients. Read

Surterra’s Beau Wrigley, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville team to create a new medical marijuana brand, Coral Reefer

9/11/18--Surterra Wellness, a leading medical marijuana company, announced a landmark global licensing deal to create a new medical marijuana brand, Coral Reefer. The new venture between Surterra and Coral Reefer will develop and market medical and therapeutic marijuana products, merchandise, and a broad range of wellness lifestyle products under the Coral Reefer brand – the namesake of Jimmy Buffett’s world-famous band. Read

Underground network brings medical marijuana to Georgia residents, and it’s legal

9/9/18--Georgia is one of the few states that has not provided patients a legal way to access it. Shannon Cloud is part of a quiet network of volunteers meeting in parking lots and fast food restaurants throughout Georgia to legally pass out medical cannabis to those in need. So far, the group’s effort has helped more than 700 patients, but they’re having to start turning people away due to an increase in demand. Read

His seizures stopped when he smoked marijuana. Then he was taken into state custody

9/9/18--While smoking marijuana, David Ray Brill's parents say he went 71 days without a seizure, before one of his doctors alerted DFCS. They immediately made him stop. Shortly thereafter, David was back in the hospital, and his parents were arrested and charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct. In Georgia, patients with nearly a dozen different conditions can get a medical card to take an oil derived from cannabis, but evidently none of his doctors would approve it. Read

Marijuana for medical use study group to hear law enforcement opinions in Carrollton

9/7/18--Co-chairmen District 67 State Rep. Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville, and State Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan, announced details of the second meeting of the Joint Legislative Study Commission on Low THC Medical Oil Access. The meeting is set for Sept. 18 from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., and it will focus on testimony from various organizations such as dispensaries, regulatory agencies, and law enforcement entities to address current access issues to low THC cannabis oil. Read

Jimmy Buffett brand to develop cannabis products with Surterra

9/11/18--Suterra Wellness, a Georgia-based medical cannabis company, announced a licensing deal with Jimmy Buffet to create a new brand of marijuana for medical use, Coral Reefer, named after the iconic Key West musician’s namesake band. The new venture between Surterra and Coral Reefer will develop and market medical and therapeutic marijuana products and merchandise under the new brand. Read

CBD oil helping fight the opioid crisis in Georgia, users say

9/3/18--According to a WSB-TV investigative report, the marijuana product CBD oil is helping Georgians get rid of prescription pain pills because the opioid epidemic is killing people. Currently, cannabis oil is legal for some patients in Georgia, but it is illegal to grow or bring it across state lines. Editors note: Please see Fact Check on this story (fifth story in the September 5, 2018 TMR e-newsletter) hereRead    

Families turn to black market; organizations urge better access

8/30/18--Patients who are registered with the state are allowed to possess and use oils that contain ingredients derived from marijuana, including cannabidiol (CBD), THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and THC-acid. Yet, patients have been told by doctors that they can’t help them get the oil, and they want to know how they can get the oil. Rep. Alan Peake, who supports expanded access to marijuana for medical use in Georgia, says patients can go to a legal state, such as Colorado, and smuggle the oil back, but for many, that’s not practical. Other patients or their family members buy marijuana on the street and make the oil at home. Read

Medical cannabis opponents make case

8/30/18--Impaired drivers, teenage addiction, the availability of other options, and workforce concerns are among reasons cited by those opposed to expanding access to marijuana-derived medicine. While most of the speakers who addressed state legislators at the first meeting of the The Joint Study Commission on Low THC Medical Oil Access on Wednesday were in favor of providing better access to the oils, there were also those opposed to any expansion. Read

Without legal way to buy medical marijuana, Georgians turn to CBD

8/14/18--It’s against the law to buy medical marijuana in Georgia, but customers can buy cannabidiol droplets, capsules, or creams to treat minor aches and pains. Meanwhile, there’s no way for patients suffering from severe seizures, intractable pain or deadly cancer to legally purchase a more potent cannabis product, low THC oil, in the state even if they’re registered through Georgia’s medical marijuana program. Without access to medical marijuana, business is booming in Georgia for cannabidiol — also called CBD — to find relief for anxiety, arthritis and back pain. Read

Gwinnett father’s medical marijuana made baby sick

8/9/18--When a 6-month-old's test results indicated positive for marijuana, warrants were issued for the child's father, Thomas Looby, alleging the medical THC oil he used likely seeped into the baby’s skin. Looby turned himself in to authorities on charges of reckless conduct and possession of a schedule I controlled substance, Gwinnett County jail records indicate. Read

Speaker Ralston announces members of several study committees & commissions

7/3/18--Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) today announced the members of three House study committees and three joint House-Senate committees/commissions established during the 2018 legislative session. Read

Rick Day says cannabis could be the future of North Georgia

7/3/18--Rick Day, a 62 year old veteran, is the first from the Democratic party to ever challenge the Speaker of the House, David Ralston, for the seat of Georgia House of Representatives District 7. One key issue of Day’s platform and arguably one that he shows the most passion for is his pro-cannabis stance and the benefits it could bring to North Georgia. Day would like to see Georgia move beyond the limited laws passed recently in the state that increased medical marijuana use and see cannabis legalized for recreational use as well. Read

The Recover releases new drug addiction and statistics page ror Atlanta Georgia

2/23/18--The Recover releases an all inclusive informational for those looking for drug treatment in Atlanta GA. According to the site, cocaine is the highest abused drug in the city, with marijuana being the next most abused substance. In a city with over 5 and a half million residents, the need for substance abuse treatments is necessary in curbing the epidemic of high school drop outs at 33% and 1,394 drug overdose deaths in Georgia in 2016, an alarming rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 residents. Read

Interview: Small Business Owner and Sec. of State Brian Kemp

11/22/18--On January 16, 2018, former Georgia Secretary of State and small business owner, Brian Kemp, joined Merion West’s Henri Mattila for an interview to discuss his vision for Georgia as he campaigns for Governor. Read

World Health Organization clashes with DEA on marijuana compound CBD

12/15/17--The US Drug Enforcement Administration has long held that the non-psychoactive component of marijuana, cannabidiol, is a schedule I drug. That is, a drug that has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. But, according to a preliminary report embraced by the World Health Organization, clinical and pre-clinical studies of CBD show no evidence of a potential for users to abuse the drug or suffer any harms. Read

The Savage Truth: Medical marijuana legislation awaits lawmakers

11/16/17--Two more medical marijuana proposals await Georgia lawmakers when they convene in Atlanta for their 2018 legislative session. In the last three sessions, lawmakers enacted legislation that legalized medical marijuana for several illnesses. However, it remains illegal to grow the plant in Georgia or to bring the medicine derived from it into Georgia from states where it's legal. Read

Georgia college poll: Most Georgians back medical marijuana

11/9/17--More than three out of four Georgians support legalizing medical marijuana in the state, a statewide Georgia College poll says. Pollsters interviewed 494 randomly selected adults across the state. Some of the key findings indicate 77 percent of Georgians support legalizing medical marijuana, with 19 percent opposed. Support is up since 2015, when 64 percent were in favor and 31 percent opposed. Read

$1.6 Million worth of high grade marijuana seized in Georgia

11/3/17--Troup County sheriffs seized more than 150 pounds of high-grade marijuana worth $1.6 million on Thursday after a tractor-trailer failed to pull into an I-85 weigh station. The driver, Amaury Izquierdo Mansito, and the passenger, Marco Alfaro, were arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana. Read

Decriminalizing marijuana in Augusta

11/2/17--Senator Harold Jones plans to address changing marijuana possession laws and punishment. Jones says these changes work in the city’s favor by not backlogging the criminal system with non-violent drug offenders. While he’s not pushing for legalizing marijuana, he does say reducing these punishments can make a huge difference for people across the state. Read

Why a young mom left Georgia to help her disabled son

10/24/17--Sarah Allen, a single mom, and her son, Aidan, who has multiple health conditions, qualifies under Colorado Medicaid for 24/7 nursing care in the home. Medical benefits under Colorado Medicaid prompted their move from Georgia to Colorado in a bid to gain more coverage for his care. Allen’s situation in Georgia was not much different from that of other families with medically fragile children. Read