(FreshAsFrankie) Yesterday Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed officially signed legislation to decriminalize marijuana in Atlanta. POTGRESS!
On Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed signed into law an ordinance that advocates say essentially decriminalizes cannabis. Reed announced the move on Wednesday morning following a bout of confusion over erroneous reports that he had actually vetoed the proposal.
Per the new ordinance, the threat of jail time for possession of less than an ounce of cannabis will be eliminated under the local code. Instead, those caught with small amounts will be subject to a maximum fine of $75. Currently, people who encounter police while possessing marijuana face fines of up to $1,000 and as many as six months in jail. The changes only apply to city policy. Even when the proposal takes effect, Georgia state marijuana criminalization will remain on the books and enforceable in the city of Atlanta.
“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,” Reed said in a press release. “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.” The City Council unanimously approved the measure last week by a vote of 15-0.