Progress in Tennessee: Memphis Decriminalizes Marijuana

Progress in Tennessee: Memphis Decriminalizes Marijuana

WikiMedia Commons / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License / Thomas R Machnitzki

On Oct. 4, 2016, the Memphis City Council voted to approve a city ordinance that would allow city police the discretion of issuing civil fines for the possession of marijuana, making Memphis the second city in Tennessee to decriminalize marijuana.

“It’s going to be better for everybody. It saves the community resources when officers don’t have to go and sit in court over a substance that’s safer than nutmeg,” NORML Memphis president John Marek told WREG.

Under the new ordinance, police will be able to issue a $50 fine or community service to citizens caught with a half an ounce of marijuana or less. It is important to note that police will still be able to arrest individuals; however, they now have the option of issuing fines instead.

In an effort to cut down on discrimination, the police department will be required to make quarterly reports to the council that detail why certain citizens were given tickets and others given fines.

According to The Commerical Appeal, the ordinance will not go into effect until the city court and police department agree upon procedures.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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