Atlanta City Council Delays Vote On Marijuana Legislation

Atlanta City Council members voted 10 to 4 to send an ordinance to reduce penalties for marijuana possession back to committee.
Credit Jeff Chiu / Associated Press file
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An effort to reduce penalties for marijuana possession has stalled in Atlanta.

The City Council decided it wasn’t ready to vote on the legislation Monday.

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The ordinance from council member Kwanza Hall has been in the works for months. It would make less than an ounce of marijuana possession a fine-only offense.

That is, under Atlanta law.

What still worried council members, like Keisha Lance Bottoms, was that stiff penalties would remain under state law.

“I’m concerned that we are giving false expectation that you will not go to jail in the city of Atlanta when the reality is that as a body we cannot control that,” Bottoms said.

Council members also said the administration still hadn’t addressed the legislation with Atlanta police, although a council work session on the issue took place a month ago.

Activists in the audience booed and hissed at the council members’ decision to delay the vote.

They said the city should pass the ordinance and be an example to the rest of the state.

Instead, the legislation now heads back to the public safety committee.