A clear majority of Georgia voters support legalizing medical marijuana, but they appear more closely split on whether to permit its recreational use, according to a poll by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The poll showed 84 percent of registered voters agreed the General Assembly should legalize marijuana-based medication. Lawmakers debated but did not adopt legislation last year that would have made cannabis oil legally available for the ill. The oil is harvested from marijuana plants and used to treat people with some seizure disorders.
Voters were more closely divided on whether to legalize recreational marijuana use. The poll indicted 46 percent of voters support legalization, while 52 percent opposed it.
State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, has filed legislation to allow the use of cannabis oil in medical treatment. That bill, however, would legalize only the use of a marijuana derivative that does not produce the high sought by recreational users. House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican, has said he supports the plan.
“The people are ahead of the politicians on this one, especially on the medical marijuana issue,” said state Sen. Curt Thompson, D-Tucker. Thompson has proposed allowing the sale of marijuana at licensed shops and permitting its use by medical providers for treating cancer, glaucoma, HIV and AIDS. “Elected officers should not be afraid of what this will do politically because Georgians are ready for it.'”
New York-based Abt SRBI conducted the poll Jan. 5-8. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. Live operators called a mix of landlines and cellphones.
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