Should Georgia Legalize Recreational Marijuana?




Reposted with permission of Insider Advantage. This article ran on the Insider Advantage website Feb. 7, 2023.

By Dan Flynn

Law enforcement veteran Dan Flynn once served as the police chief of Savannah and Marietta.

A “gateway drug” is a one that entices its users to use stronger drugs. Anyone who doubts marijuana is a gateway drug should ask drug addicts which drug they started using first. Derelict opioid addicts, Fentanyl users who are still alive and homeless people (90 percent of whom are addicted) will nearly all tell you it was marijuana.








Marijuana leaf image by Oren neu dag, Wikimedia Commons.

Sadly, you can’t ask those who have died from overdoses, nor those who are victims of our soaring suicide rate. Neither group is still around to answer the simple question: With which drug did you first start? Yet their post-mortem case histories, gleaned mostly from their families, would tell you their starter drug was marijuana.

In Georgia, the move to legitimize marijuana began several years ago when the marijuana grower’s industry and their smooth-talking lobbyists began wining and dining Georgia legislators. They started convincing legislators that if they legalized marijuana for medical use only, it would not start a slippery slope trend to the day when Georgians would be asked to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The lobbyists followed up on their initial behind-the-scenes conversations by parading sad and severely afflicted children in front of the General Assembly, pulling on their heart strings. They indicated that the children, who ostensibly needed marijuana to survive, represented a much larger portion of the Georgia population than they really represent. The politicians were easily swayed by the emotional arguments when the real motive was always to produce profit.

Well, here we are in 2023 and a Georgia legislator just introduced a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Ironically, this comes at a time when the opioid crisis is still ravaging young victims in Georgia. Fentanyl is pouring through our open borders, and both our drug overdose death rate and suicide rates are skyrocketing to new highs. At the same time, zombie-like homeless people and the behaviorally mentally ill are roaming Georgia’s cities and counties while there is little hope of a solution for them. Meanwhile, our public school system is failing students and parents badly in the aftermath of a brutal pandemic.

Do we really, in good conscience, want to legalize the gateway drug for recreational purposes in this 2023 environment? Do Georgia voters really want it? One lesson we should have learned from the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic is that we should not take advice about public health issues from phonies like Dr. Anthony Fauci or past New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They greedily valued money and power over public health and public safety.

Likewise, we shouldn’t trust Georgia elected officials who, in the recent past, could be so easily swayed by the exploitation of a disproportionately small number of afflicted children when compared with Georgia’s entire population. Georgia voters need to look at the evidence, learn from past mistakes and consider the true motive of those seeking to legalize recreational marijuana. Only those officials, of either party, and their marijuana grower friends could benefit from passing it while Georgia families, women and children would suffer the consequences.

Make no mistake. The marijuana growers’ industry is part of the pharmaceutical industry which is notorious for providing well-funded misleading ads and public information about drugs. Despite drug industry propaganda, law enforcement studies of Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana several years ago, reveal outcomes that are devastating. It is documented that since legalization in Colorado there have been sharp increases in marijuana-related hospitalizations, emergency room visits, poison control calls, DUIs and fatal crashes where drivers tested positive for cannabinoids. Does that sound like it would benefit Georgia?

Regarding Georgia legislators who support legalization, we must consider that the most basic purpose of any government is to protect its citizens– particularly regarding public health and public safety. So, shouldn’t we question the motives of any legislator who is wined, dined or cajoled into voting to legalize recreational marijuana? It is quite obvious that their true motives for going along can only be that they value money over public health and public safety!

Where have we seen that dynamic in recent years? Does COVID-19 ring a bell? Politicians who value profits over public safety or public health need to be weeded out.

In 2023, conservative leaders in Georgia are prioritizing public safety by working to curb gang violence. At the same time, others are implementing new public health legislation designed to have police and mental health professionals respond together to better serve the behaviorally mentally ill.

Georgia is moving in positive directions in both those areas. That is the best reason we should not reverse course and go backwards by legalizing recreational marijuana.