Athens commissioners vote to decriminalize marijuana

·1 min read

Athens-Clarke County commissioners approved an ordinance that eliminates jail time and lowers the fine for having less than an ounce of cannabis to $35.

The decision was made at the commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday.

Commissioners wanted to require charging less than $35, but that was the mandatory minimum in the state.

The ordinance passed with an 8 to 1 vote.

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“I definitely am very much in favor of supporting this,” District 5 Commissioner Tim Denson said. “It’s been 10 years of people coming out and organizing around this and trying to get a parallel ordinance very similar to this happening. While we may not be prosecuting right now currently, it saddens me that people were prosecuted, that people’s lives were negatively impacted.”

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The one commissioner who voted against the ordinance said it wasn’t the time to make this move.

“Marijuana is a gateway to other drugs. Maybe not to everyone, but for too many,” District 9 Commissioner Ovita Thornton said. “I am just not quite ready to support this.”

Atlanta’s city council decided unanimously to decriminalize marijuana back in 2017. The penalty for possessing 1 ounce or less is a $75 fine

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