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Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall Calls for October 2 Vote on Marijuana Legislation

Post Date:09/18/2017 2:33 PM

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Council Communications
Atlanta City Hall
55 Trinity Ave. S.W.
Atlanta, GA  30303 

Colleen Kiernan, District 2 Policy Director
404-520-7893 cell
cekiernan@atlantaga.gov

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2017

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall Calls for October 2 Vote on Marijuana Legislation

ATLANTA, GA - On March 20, 2017, Councilman Kwanza Hall introduced an ordinance (17-O-1152), which changes the penalty in the Atlanta Municipal code for possession of marijuana less than an ounce from the “general penalty”--which is a fine of up to $1000 and up to six months in jail--to a maximum fine of $75.

This legislation was one in a series of justice reform policies Councilman Hall has introduced, including “Ban the Box” which passed in 2014, creation of the Pre-Arrest Diversion Pilot Program in 2015, and a transparency and accountability and end of broken windows policing initiative in 2016. The marijuana legislation was pulled from the broken windows policy as a stand-alone piece.

Atlanta City Council’s Public Safety Committee has debated the legislation at several committee meetings and held a work session on the topic. The legislation has been stalled since May. A key fact presented during the debate is that the overwhelming number of arrests for marijuana-related offenses are African Americans (92%), even though studies have determined usage is at similar levels across racial demographics.

Councilman Hall issued the following statement:

“This is a straight-forward policy that will help reduce the inequities that our justice system levies on people of color. It won’t solve the problem in its entirety, but it is a strong step forward. The legislation doesn’t need to be tweaked or amended, it just needs an up or down vote.

I have stated publicly that I will bring this to a full council vote, but not today. I don’t want advocates for this legislation to feel that we sprung it on them, andI want to be clear and transparent on our communication.

I am calling for our marijuana policy to move forward during the next legislative cycle, which would mean the Public Safety Committee should move it forward at its September 26 meeting and the Full Council should give it a final vote on October 2.”

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