A bill that would legalize the production and sale of marijuana in Georgia has passed the state Senate and will be heard by the full Senate this week.
The measure passed on Wednesday after an hourlong marathon debate in which both sides of the aisle argued over whether the legislation should be allowed to become law.
The bill is expected to pass the House and be signed by Governor Nathan Deal, who is expected in mid-April to sign it into law.
The bill would allow for the production of up to 1 ounce of marijuana and would allow people to grow up to six plants for personal use, provided that they are in compliance with Georgia’s strict marijuana laws.
It would also allow those who want to possess marijuana to do so by purchasing a small amount from a local retailer.
In addition, the bill would require people who purchase marijuana from a licensed dispensary to have a current ID card, which would be issued to the buyer if they have one.
The state would also require marijuana sales to be taxed at a rate of 5% of the retail price, but no more than 6%.
The legislation also would require local governments to enact zoning rules that will allow for indoor and outdoor marijuana growing, cultivation, and sales, with the first four areas of the state to be allowed under the bill to be covered by zoning ordinances.
It also would establish a task force to examine the potential impact of marijuana legalization on communities and local economies, and to create a pilot program that would allow medical marijuana to be sold in the state.
This article was updated on June 27 at 12:55 p.m. to clarify that the bill is likely to pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The legislation will be brought to the governor’s desk by late July, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.