Former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, at a Democratic event in Atlanta last month. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

The Jolt: Teresa Tomlinson endorses legalization of recreational marijuana

Teresa Tomlinson is going there. In a first batch of detailed policy positions this morning, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate will endorse the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. From her website:

“It is time we address at the federal level the decriminalization, legalization, and regulation of marijuana as a medicinal and recreational substance.”

Tomlinson, the former mayor of Columbus, also endorsed marijuana’s regulation and taxation. Her main points, again drawn from her website:

-- “I support removing marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act schedule, so it can be regulated and taxed appropriately.”

-- “I support regulating marijuana under the appropriate federal agency which can work with states to provide market and interstate commerce continuity, thereby preventing black markets, criminal law disparities and other market anomalies or unintended effects.”

-- “I support amending the IRS tax code and banking regulations to full accommodate this new industry.”

Tomlinson also said she supports “expungement and commutation programs” to address past racial disparities in sentencing for marijuana-related crimes, and notes marijuana’s possibilities as “another cash crop for our farmers.”

Tomlinson is set to unveil positions on other issues as well, from universal health care by expanding Medicaid and Medicare -- while keeping private insurance, to creating a pathway to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers” and others in the country without legal status.

But it is her position on marijuana that, at least at first glance, is likely to resonate. Republicans in the state Capitol have, over the last several years, adjusted their hardline opposition to pot -- for medicinal purposes only.

This year, the Legislature approved a measure that allows highly controlled cultivation of marijuana to occur in Georgia -- but only for low-THC plants. Recreational use has been a bright red line.

Tomlinson has called herself a "pragmatic progressive" who can "speak Republican," but she faces primary competition from Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, who has staked out an unapologetically liberal platform. Sarah Riggs Amico, the former Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, is expected to announce her run within days, and several others are publicly mulling a challenge to incumbent David Perdue.

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Somebody sane please tell us how we got here: We’re told that state Rep. Erica Thomas, D-Austell, will hold a press conference at the state Capitol to deny reports that she has backtracked from original comments in which she said a white many berated her at a Publix in Cobb County for having too many items in the express lane.

"This white man comes up to me and says, 'You lazy son of (expletive). You need to go back where you came from,'" she posted on Facebook.

In a subsequent interview with Channel 2, Thomas, who is nine months pregnant, said, “I don't want to say he said, ‘Go back to your country,’ or ‘Go back to where you came from.’ But he was making those types of references is what I remember.”

Eric Sparkes, the man in question, didn’t deny that a confrontation occurred: “I stated, ‘You’re a selfish little (expletive).’ I did say that. That’s all I said after that and I walked out of Publix.”

Geez, people. Some occasions do, in fact, call for a breach in civility. Having 10 extra items in an express late isn’t one of them. If you’re cussing out a (pregnant) body for breaking rules that even grocery store employees don’t care about, something else is bothering you. Take your finger off the hair-trigger, please.

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Georgia officials have long since struck Confederate Memorial Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday from the list of official state holidays. But last week, Gov. Brian Kemp’s office issued formal list of 2020 state holidays.

Readers noticed that Georgia’s only “state holiday” without a name, which usually occurs on April 26, has been moved up by two weeks to April 10. Next year, that’s Good Friday. 

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Perhaps you remember the story about a mosque that, five years ago, won a fight with the city of Kennesaw to open and operate in a local strip mall. The Marietta Daily Journal reports that the congregation is now seeking to build a permanent home on U.S. 41.

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Chick-fil-A got some free advertising from Greg Abbott last week, when the Texas governor signed legislation named for the Atlanta-based fast food chain surrounded by the company’s menu items. 

“Today I signed the ⁦@ChickfilA⁩ law in Texas,” he wrote. “And, had a great lunch.”

The law bars governments from taking “adverse” steps against companies or individuals based on their religious beliefs and it came after the San Antonio City Council tried to block Chick-fil-A from opening at the airport. 

The Atlanta-based chain has faced boycotts and criticism since its chief executive made comments critical of gay marriage in 2012.

It has since backed away from public stances on that and related issues.

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The Newnan Times-Herald has provided us with this slice of suburban life in Coweta County:

A significant portion of Coweta’s homeless population sleeps in their cars, and a group of nonprofits working on the homelessness and housing situation recently invited local law enforcement to discuss the issue in light of a recent [law enforcement] shooting involving a man who was sleeping in a vehicle in Newnan.

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