On Sept. 26, 2017, in Georgia, the Atlanta Public Safety Committee voted 3-1 in favor of a cannabis decriminalization ordinance that would reduce the penalty for cannabis possession.
Under the proposed ordinance the penalty for possessing up to one ounce of cannabis within Atlanta city limits would be reduced to $75. Georgia state law currently lists cannabis possession as a misdemeanor punishable by fine of up $1,000 or one year in jail.
The measure had previously been considered by the wider city council, but it was tabled and referred to the Public Safety Committee for further consideration. Efforts to revive the ordinance were due in part to the efforts of its sponsor, and mayoral candidate, Kwanza Hall, who called for an early vote on the measure.
“We waste millions of taxpayer dollars on arresting, trying and jailing marijuana offenders. Our APD officers will no longer be bogged down pursuing minor arrests and can now focus more on serious violent crimes, which will make our neighborhoods safer,” Hall explained in a press release.
According to Hall, 92% of those arrested for simple possession in Atlanta are African-American.
With the approval of the Public Safety Committee, the cannabis decriminalization ordinance will now head to the city council for a full vote on Oct. 2.