or to vote comment and more!
All eyes are on Georgia and two runoff races Tuesday that will determine whether the U.S. Senate flips to Democrats, an outcome that could make the upper chamber more amenable to federal marijuana reform – perhaps even legalization.
Potentially billions of dollars of business opportunities are at stake, depending on the scope and shape of any reform legislation that comes before lawmakers.
The runoff races come only a month after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a historic bill that removes marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act.
Georgia’s strict drug laws encourage police officers to search for drugs during otherwise routine interactions, such as traffic stops, said Georgia state Sen. Harold Jones II, a Democrat and former prosecutor. That increases the odds of encounters escalating and turning violent.
“I just see so many interactions between police and citizens that are based on drug interactions — trying to find narcotics,” said Jones, who has put forward a bill that would reduce penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
In the wake of growing unrest over racial injustice, several states have taken steps that may give legalization proponents reason to be optimistic. For example, Georgia lawmakers included decriminalizing marijuana in a recent police reform bill. In New Jersey, a decriminalization bill passed the state Assembly by a 63-10 vote. Taking everything into account, Karen O’Keefe, the director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, believes we will see a record number of states legalize marijuana next year.