Georgia: Atlanta City Council Votes To Decriminalize Cannabis
By Michael Bachara
On Monday, the Atlanta City Council voted to decriminalize cannabis in an unanimous decision. After the historic 15-0 vote from the City Council, the proposed ordinance was sent to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to either sign or veto the legislation. If the mayor signs it, which he said he intends to, the ordinance will become city law.
After the vote, Mayor Reed indicated that he was interested in signing the legislation. In a tweet, the mayor thanked council members for their "leadership on marijuana reform."
- Thank you to @KwanzaHall & @KeishaBottoms for your leadership on marijuana reform. I look forward to reviewing & signing this legislation.— Kasim Reed (@KasimReed) October 2, 2017 -
Cannabis is still illegal in the city of Atlanta. The vote to decriminalize within city limits was not a vote for legalization, but the decriminalization vote proposed a change to the way people are prosecuted after being found in possession cannabis within Atlanta, which is a step in the right direction.
The new ordinance removes the option of imprisonment for people caught with less than an ounce of the herb. It would also reduce any potential fine to a maximum of $75, punishment within the city limits, would become a citation, similar to a traffic ticket, after the mayor's approval.
“While blacks and whites use marijuana at the same rates in the country, these laws disproportionately fall on African Americans,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and daughter of civil rights icon Andrew Young.
Possession of cannabis within the city of Atlanta is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for a period of up to six months, under current law.
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