Bill to make pot non-jailable offense in Atlanta passes committe - CBS46 News

Bill to make pot non-jailable offense in Atlanta passes committee, goes to full city council

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

A measure to make marijuana a non-jailable offense passed a committee Tuesday, sending the legislation to the full city council on Monday. 

City councilman Kwanza Hall introduced the measure back in March and it would call for reducing the penalty for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a $75 fine and no jail time would be served. That's a dramatic drop from the penalty currently in place which calls for up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

"In Atlanta and in Fulton County, 93 percent of the arrests for small amounts of marijuana are the arrests of African-Americans, that is the most biased rate of arrests in the country," councilman Hall told CBS46 News earlier this month. "It's not easy to convince a majority of 8 to 10 people and ideally a majority to agree to do something."

Hall and his team says it's just one measure in a series of justice reform policies planned, but even he admits the proposal has been stalled since May. 

Back in April, Mayor Kasim Reed said he's conflicted about the debate, believing marijuana is a gateway drug but also saying it's a tool to disproportionately impact the poor and people of color.

CBS46 asked Councilman Hall in early September if a victory on the ordinance would in-turn boost his popularity in the polls. Hall told CBS46 that he was just doing his job.

"There's nothing wrong with doing your job, and this is something we didn't start a few weeks ago, we started last year," said Hall.  

If the full city council passes the legislation, Mayor Reed would have eight days to sign it into law, or veto it. 

CBS46 wants to know what you think. Are you in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana (less than 1 ounce) in Atlanta? Vote in our online poll!

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