The proposed ordinance seeks to amend the local law so that possession of up to 1 ounce of the weed is punishable by a maximum of $75. Punishment for being in possession of the stated amount of marijuana will become a citation like in the case of a traffic ticket. There will be no arrest, criminal record, or jail time.
With the passage of this ordinance, Atlanta has joined the expanding list of cities across the United States that have taken a more pragmatic approach to handling marijuana-related issues on the local level.
On Monday night, Oct 2nd, 2017, the city council of Atlanta, by a unanimous vote, decided to decriminalize marijuana. The council voted 15- 0 to propose an ordinance which takes imprisonment off the books for the city dwellers caught with less than an ounce of marijuana.
The proposed ordinance
The proposed ordinance seeks to amend the local law so that possession of up to 1 ounce of the weed is an offense that attracts a maximum fine of $75. Punishment for being in possession of the stated amount of marijuana will become a citation like a traffic ticket. There will be no arrest, criminal record, or jail time.
The proposed ordinance has been forwarded to the city Mayor, Kasim Reed, to either sign it into law or veto the legislation. Mayor Kasim Reed has indicated that he will sign the legislation into law.
The current in Atlanta
Under current laws, being in possession of marijuana within the city of Atlanta attracts a prison term of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. Over, 30,000 Georgians are arrested annually and charged with breaking marijuana laws. This has become a great cause of concern because of the heavy social costs.
The court costs, the jail time, family breakups, the lost educational opportunities, the ruining of young peoples lives, and the waste of city resources are said to have contributed to the decision. With the passage of this ordinance, Atlanta has joined an expanding list of cities across the United States that have taken a more pragmatic approach to handling marijuana-related issues at the local level.
Cannabis is illegal in Atlanta
It is important to realize that the vote to decriminalize marijuana is not a vote to legalize weed. Marijuana will still be illegal within the city of Atlanta. The proposed decriminalization seeks to change the way residents are prosecuted when found in possession of marijuana within the Atlanta city limits.
Decriminalization of cannabis in the United States
Lots of states such as Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Mine, Washington, and Massachusetts have legalized the use of recreational marijuana. However, in many other states, laws have been created to allow for the use of medical marijuana or to decriminalize it. There are other states like Georgia where it is the more progressive cosmopolitan areas that are spearheading the decriminalization of the marijuana.
That said, there are state governments that have been reversing the municipal decisions to decriminalize marijuana. For example, in Tennessee, the cities of Memphis and Nashville voted to decriminalize cannabis in Sept 2016. However, in April 2017, the Tennessee governor Bill Haslam signed a bill to repeal those laws.