Country of Georgia Makes Marijuana Use Legal; Is U.S. Next?
The country of Georgia has made it legal to consume marijuana, though it is still illegal to cultivate or sell. Georgia is now officially the first former-Soviet Union nation to lift such a ban, according to a report from Newsweek. The change came down from a decision from the country’s constitutional court, which determined punishment for consuming marijuana is only applicable if a third party is at risk. By revoking the right of officials to punish individuals for consumption of marijuana, the court in essence made it legal.
The court did not appear to take a stance one way or another as to whether marijuana was dangerous or not. At the heart of the ruling, in fact, is the idea that it is not up to the law to punish people who are not hurting others. If the only person potentially experiencing harm by the use of cannabis is the user, then the government has no business interfering. The court deemed this to be a restriction of individual freedom. While this ruling still implies that there is harm that one could do to oneself by using marijuana, it does get to the heart of one of the many arguments in favor of legalization: Shouldn’t people be able to make personal decisions so long as they are not harming others?
This is the same thought process behind why we allow people to make bad food choices, even though heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Food choices are an individual freedom, and moderation is up to the individual to monitor, even with studies that show some highly processed foods are intentionally engineered to be addictive in nature. Sugar has been shown to cause similar changes in the brain as addictive drugs, especially in regards to the release of dopamine. Yet we eat it regularly and even allow children to consume it with little thought. Alcohol is readily available to adults, even though we know 17.6 million people in the U.S. suffer from alcohol abuse or addiction. Each year, excessive alcohol use is attributed to the death of 88,000 in this country. National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence drew out the statistics even further: 40 percent of non-maternity hospital beds in the U.S. go to patients who need treatment for health conditions related to consuming alcohol. Meanwhile the number of marijuana overdoses documented in the U.S. is holding steady at zero, making it more perplexing why our leaders are still so hung up on outdated propaganda.
With cultivation and sales of marijuana remaining illegal in Georgia, our Riverside marijuana lawyers can explain there is still a legal gray area for those consuming cannabis, as there would be no way to obtain it other than illicit means. It is, however, the first big step toward broader legalization efforts. Once countries acknowledge there’s no compelling reason why people cannot use marijuana, it doesn’t take long to realize the benefits a cannabis economy could have. Uruguay lifted marijuana bans and implemented a heavily regulated marketplace in an attempt to gain control of increasingly violent criminal activity centered on drug trafficking. Canada has followed, allowing recreational use, cultivation, and sales nationwide beginning in October. Now that 30 states and Washington, D.C., have made at least medical marijuana legal in the U.S., it’s time for our country to follow suit and lift marijuana’s federal ban.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients, defendants, workers and those facing criminal marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
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More Blog Entries:
O, Cannabis: Canada Passes Adult-Use Marijuana, June 29, 2018, Cannabis Law Group