On Aug. 23, 2016, a Memphis City Council committee voted 5-2 to pass a marijuana decriminalization ordinance to decriminalize simple possession, as reported by WREG News Channel 3.
As previously announced, Councilman Berlin Boyd introduced the ordinance at the Public Safety Committee of the Memphis City Council on Aug. 23, with the committee voting 5-2 to pass it.
The ordinance is required to go before the Memphis City Council three times before the council can vote on it. If the council passes it, the ordinance would establish a civil penalty of $50 for possessing or exchanging less than half an ounce of marijuana in the city, with the possibility of community service as an alternate penalty. The civil penalty would not be added to an individual’s criminal record.
The current penalty for simple possession in Memphis is a misdemeanor charge with a $2,500 fine, plus the possibility of up to one-year imprisonment.
According to WREG News Channel 3, representatives from local police and fire departments have publicly voiced their opposition to the ordinance.