Savannah city council preparing for possibility of marijuana legalization

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 6:05 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 25, 2022 at 6:46 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah City Council is getting ready for a potentially huge change.

Council voted at Thursday night’s meeting to put a pause on any permits related to the sale of medical marijuana.

Right now, you can’t get medical marijuana in Georgia. But council says that could change any day now and they want to be ready.

“Medical marijuana is coming to Georgia, and it’s time for the city of Savannah to be ready,” Alderman Nick Palumbo said.

Savannah’s city council voted to put a 180-day ban on any new marijuana-related licenses. The ban does not affect CBD shops that are already selling products.

Mayor Van Johnson says the city needs to be proactive.

“The fact of the matter is, it’s coming eventually. We here locally have no plan,” Mayor Johnson said.

Mayor Johnson says council must figure out how they will regulate marijuana dispensaries, what kind of license they will get and where they’ll be allowed to set-up shop.

“If we don’t do anything at all, then what happens is it comes upon us, and then we find ourselves retroactively trying to legislate something that we should have legislated before,” Mayor Johnson said.

Alderman Palumbo spearheaded this new initiative. He says there’s a chance the federal government legalizes marijuana nationwide, as early as this year.

“There are so many different competing bills and pieces of legislation at the state and federal level, that I think that it’s time to open up the discussion of, if it is legalized, how are we going to do that in the city,” he said. “We don’t want to be caught on the tail end, like on AirBnB’s, where you have a mass proliferation, and then you’re trying to catch it on the back end.”

Mayor Johnson says the city is open to the change and now, they want to hear from the people of Savannah.

“Something is going to happen. Our world is changing. It’s moving toward more medicinal uses, and it’s moving more toward recreational uses. And so, we have to know what that means for Savannah,” Mayor Johnson said.

There will be some opportunities for Savannah residents to weigh-in. We’ll let you know as soon as we find out.

We’re also following two state proposals to make changes to Georgia’s medical marijuana law. We’ll keep you updated on those, too.

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