Nashville, Tenn., has passed an ordinance that allows police officers leeway in charging people with possession of marijuana, according to a Sept. 20, 2016, article in The Tennessean.
The city’s new decriminalization legislation allows officers to give a penalty of either a $50 fine or 10 hours of community service to people in possession of half an ounce or less of marijuana. The Metropolitan Council passed the measure on Sept. 20, 2016, with a vote of 35-3.
“All this bill does is give police the option of not treating someone with a little pot like a hardened criminal,” Councilman Dave Rosenberg, the bill’s lead sponsor, said. “Because when you start treating good members of our society like criminals they begin acting like criminals.”
Mayor Megan Barry has said she will sign the bill. In a statement released after the council passed the bill, Barry said, “This legislation is a positive step forward in addressing the overly punitive treatment of marijuana possession in our state that disproportionately impacts low-income and minority residents.”
The City Council of Memphis, Tenn., is scheduled to vote on a similar decriminalization bill on Oct. 4, 2016.