City leaders vote unanimously to pass marijuana proposal in Atlanta

Posted at 11:12 AM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 11:12:00-04

ATLANTA (CBS46) - City leaders voted unanimously 15-0 to pass the controversial issue of the decriminalization of marijuana in Atlanta on Monday. The proposal passed through a committee on September 26.

City councilman Kwanza Hall introduced the measure back in March. It calls for reducing the penalty for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a $75 fine and no jail time. That's a dramatic drop from the penalty currently in place under state law which calls for up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

"In Atlanta and in Fulton County, 92 percent of the arrests for small amounts of marijuana are the arrests of African-Americans, that is the most biased rate of arrests in the country," councilman Hall told CBS46 News in September. "It's not easy to convince a majority of 8 to 10 people and ideally a majority to agree to do something."

Hall and his team says it's just one measure in a series of justice reform policies he has planned, but Hall acknowledges the proposal has been stalled since May. 

Back in April, Mayor Kasim Reed said he was conflicted about the debate, believing marijuana is a gateway drug, but also saying it's a tool to disproportionately impact the poor and people of color.

CBS46 asked Councilman Hall in early September if a victory on the ordinance would in-turn boost his popularity in the polls. Hall told CBS46 that he was just doing his job.

"There's nothing wrong with doing your job, and this is something we didn't start a few weeks ago, we started last year," said Hall. 

The full council meets at 1 p.m. Monday. CBS46 will have a crew on the scene and will have updates as new information becomes available.

CBS46 wants to know what you think. Are you in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana (less than 1 ounce) in Atlanta? Vote in our online poll!

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