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Atlanta City Council Considers Decriminalization of Marijuana

  • by Tom McCain, Executive Director, Peachtree NORML May 11, 2017

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    **Update: Peachtree NORML has just informed us that the vote has been postponed. We will keep you posted as developments unfold. 

    On Monday, May 15, 2017, the City Council of Atlanta, Georgia will vote on an ordinance that would decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana within Atlanta’s City Limits. Under Georgia law, the possession of one ounce or less is an arrestable offense that could result in up to a $1000 fine and 12 months in jail. This ordinance would allow for the issuance of a citation which carries a $75.00 fine. The ordinance would only apply to the Atlanta Police Department. Other agencies operating within the City, such as the State Patrol and Fulton County Sheriff, would still be able to arrest for the offense.

    While it may not seem like much protection, the passage of this ordinance would be a giant step in Georgia. The small town of Clarkston passed a similar ordinance in July 2016. While that stirred up some news, the Capital of Georgia passing it would have a major ripple effect. One mayoral candidate, Vincent Fort, who is a current member of Georgia’s Senate, has made decriminalization the major plank in his campaign platform. It is a hot topic in Georgia.

    Peachtree NORML, in association with Georgia C.A.R.E. Project, has begun a City-by- City campaign which is beginning to have some success. By providing fact-based data to municipal governments wishing to consider such measures, we hope to begin reducing the harm caused by an arrest for small amounts of marijuana in Georgia.

    If approved by Council, Atlanta will join a growing list of cities around the country that have adopted a more pragmatic approach for dealing with marijuana-related offenses on the local level. Kansas City, Houston, Memphis, Nashville, Tampa, Orlando, Milwaukee, Monona, Toledo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and several others have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    Sharon Ravert, the Founder of Peachtree NORML is fond of saying, “When we are talking, we are winning.” Hopefully the City of Atlanta will prove her right next Monday.

    Contact your council representatives today and urge them to vote “Yes” on a fiscally sensible proposal that will enable police, prosecutors, and the courts to reallocate their existing resources toward activities that will better serve the public.

    Click the link below to get started!

    TAKE ACTION: http://act.norml.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=20611

    For more updates on local reform efforts, follow Peachtree NORML by visiting their website, Facebook and Twitter! To make a donation to Peachtree NORML, please click here.

    6 Responses to “Atlanta City Council Considers Decriminalization of Marijuana”

    1. Diane McClara says:

      Time to decriminalize, Thank You

    2. Matt says:

      How ANYONE at this point would oppose this is just outrageous. Hope they do not follow the opinions of some in Tennessee. Wake up and decrim., Atlanta. Common SENSE. PASS THIS ORDINANCE.

    3. saferinneworleans says:

      We have had decrim for a year here in New Orleans and the City Council is waiting on a report of the results. It seems like possession of marijuana was never a big target for enforcement by our police, who obviously have more pressing concerns. I am not happy with the idea of getting a ticket for consuming a mild intoxicant that is less harmful than alcohol. But a citation is better than an arrest.

      • Julian says:

        Careful wording… marijuana is nontoxic. If it has a greater portion of THC its psychoactive, which is still nontoxic, because marijuana has never killed anyone by overdose according to the CDC and our DEA director. Decriminalization can be accomplished by a city and county through action and cooperation from the DA and County Sheriff.

    4. John says:

      What was the outcome!? I can’t find anything about it.

      [Paul Armentano responds: A vote on the ordinance was pulled off the agenda pending further discussion by the Mayor’s Executive Committee.]

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