Last year Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed signed into law legislation that effectively decriminalizes possession of less than an ounce of cannabis. Under current laws, cannabis possession carries with it a penalty of six months in jail and fines of up to 1,000 dollars. Under the new law possession of less than an ounce will mean a 75 dollar fine. The city council passed the measure unanimously 15-0 last week.
Great, What’s Next for Atlanta?
There were reports that Reed vetoed the legislation, but he put those rumors to rest as he tweeted out a picture of him signing the legislation with the words “Pleased to sign the marijuana legislation last night at 6:24pm. Thanks to @KwanzaHall & @KeishaBottoms for all their hard work on this.”
Now don’t pull out your pipes yet. The only thing that has been decriminalized is possession. Public consumption of cannabis is still illegal in the city of Atlanta and you can still get thrown in the pokey if a cop catches you smoking. Cannabis is still illegal in the rest of the state of Georgia and can technically still be enforced in Atlanta.
Mayor Reed said in a press release:
I am pleased to sign this ordinance, which eliminates jail time as a penalty for a conviction for possession of less than an ounce, into law. I also want to thank Councilmembers Keisha Lance Bottoms and Kwanza Hall for their work not only to pass this ordinance, but also to make sure our officers in the Atlanta Police Department receive the appropriate training. People of color, young and low-income people are disproportionately jailed – with sentences up to six months – for possessing small amounts of marijuana. An average of 1,000 people are arrested each year in Atlanta for possession only. We needed to change that. I believe our public safety resources are better directed to stopping and preventing violent crime.
Nice job Atlanta, hopefully the rest of the state follows suit. Then legalization won’t be too far behind.
Source: Atlanta Magazine
Image Source: Dentons
Do you think Atlanta, or even all of Georgia will ever embrace full on legalization, or is this as good as it gets for the peach state? Tell us below!