The Atlanta City Council, on Monday, unanimously passed an ordinance which decriminalizes the possession of marijuana in small amounts. The Council voted 15-0 in favor of the ordinance. The legislation was proposed by Mayoral candidate Kwanza Hall in March.
The law if passed, would make possession of less than an ounce of marijuana as a ticketing offense rather than facing an arrest. Currently, possessing marijuana in Atlanta City calls for a penalty up to $1,000 and imprisonment up to six months. The new law is set to reduce the fine up to $75 for possessing less than an ounce of cannabis.
“To everyone who came out in support of the legislation to reduce the penalties for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, we heard you. Motion passed unanimously 15-0,” official handle of the Atlanta City Council tweeted.
The ordinance now requires the signature of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to become law. Reed can either sign the ordinance or veto the legislation within eight calendar days. However, the legislation can also turn into the law without his signature.
Hall urged that the change of the law was necessary to reduce the rate of imprisonment of the African Americans, who account for almost 92 per cent among people arrested for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.
The next task, the Council members believe is to ensure the public at large is informed about the law.
“In fact, what I’ve said is I don’t want blood on my hands. I don’t want some college kid to think they are within their rights to possess marijuana in Atlanta, get arrested, resist arrest and, God forbid, the worst happens,” said Councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms.