H ere’s to another step toward marijuana policy reform.
According to WXIA-TV, the Atlanta City Council unanimously passed an ordinance on Monday (October 2) that decriminalizes the possession of marijuana in small amounts. The ordinance was initially proposed by Councilman and mayoral candidate Kwanza Hall and passed 15-0. City officials say Mayor Kasim Reed now has eight days to either sign or veto the legislation. He is expected to sign it.
“Currently, we are seeing families torn apart,” Hall told Atlanta’s V-103. “We’re seeing young people lose their scholarships, we’re seeing people become unemployable, all because of possession of less than an ounce. And primarily the neighborhoods, the zip codes, the people are people of color living in parts of our city that have been left behind, that have been neglected, and they are being penalized greater than anyone else.”
Atlanta law currently penalizes marijuana possession with a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months behind bars. The ordinance would omit imprisonment as a form of punishment for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. It would also cut fines down to a max of $75.
“Ninety-two percent of the people arrested for marijuana possession of less than an ounce and who are in our jail are African American, and that is wrong,” Hall continued. “We should be ashamed of ourselves, and we have to change this law immediately. We have the power in City Hall to do it right now.”
Read the the Atlanta ordinance here.