Georgia’s Libertarian Party on marijuana: Legalize it

The Libertarian Party of Georgia has a simple message regarding marijuana: legalize it.

Not just medical marijuana. All of it.

The socially liberal, fiscally conservative party threw its voice into a statewide conversation about Georgia’s marijuana laws with a press release Wednesday, urging lawmakers to follow recent legalization movements in Colorado and Washington.

“Georgia voters should be allowed to vote on the issue,” said Doug Craig, the chairman of the Libertarian Party of Georgia. “If the voters were allowed to vote, we believe they would vote to legalize.”

While the Libertarian Party isn’t always a factor in statewide elections, it does have candidates running for governor and the U.S. Senate this year, in nanotechnologist Andrew Hunt and former Flowery Branch City Councilwoman Amanda Swafford, respectively.

Craig said the party was motivated to make its position known after the New York Times recently endorsed legalization.

Medical marijuana is a popular discussion in the state Capitol these days. A bipartisan bill to legalize a marijuana derivative for treatment of children with seizure disorders failed in the past legislative season, the victim of political feuding. But it continues to garner attention.

A legislative study committee on medical marijuana will hold its first meeting Aug. 27, and more medical marijuana legislation is expected in the legislative session that begins in January.

Gov. Nathan Deal pushed a plan in early July to conduct clinical trials for the medical derivative. State Rep. Allen Peake, the chief sponsor of the failed bill, has said he supports such measures.

Peake, however, also urged legislative action sooner, rather than later.

“There are children, and other citizens, who are suffering daily now, who need access to medical cannabis immediately,” Peake said in a statement earlier in July. “Some may not live long enough to wait for the trials to start.”

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