Atlanta decriminalizing marijuana has the best of intentions to help the residents and save tax payers money. Instead of jail time and an expensive fine, those caught with an ounce or less of marijuana on them will have to pay a $75 fine and then walk away. Whether the new rule grants clemency to any that are already serving prison time will have to be seen. Do you think Atlanta decriminalizing marijuana is the first step for the state of Georgia moving towards legalization?
The Atlanta City Council unanimously passed legislation this week that decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he will sign the legislation, which doesn’t legalize the drug but lessens penalties associated with it. Under the old law, people found with an ounce or less of pot faced a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail. Now, violators would face a fine of $75 and no jail time.
City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who sponsored the measure, said the vote passed 15-0.
“Reforming the racist marijuana laws on the book in Atlanta has been just one in a number of reforms that I have fought for,” Hall told Atlanta’s FOX 5 News.
Hall said between 2014 and 2016, 92 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession within Atlanta city limits were black.
The measure had the backing of the Atlanta Police Department, who said the new law would be handled with a citation similar to a traffic ticket. The change only applies within the Atlanta city limits; Georgia state law still requires jail time.
In recent years, Kansas City, Dallas, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Nashville have passed legislation changing penalties for residents who possess, grow or share certain amounts of marijuana.