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USA, Georgia, Atlanta, Cityscape with skyscrapers at dusk

Source: Dermot Conlan / Getty

Monday, October 2, 2017, the Atlanta City Council passed Ordinance 17- O- 1152, decriminalizing possession offenses of Marijuana up to an ounce, now punishable by a fine of $75. No arrest or criminal record attached.

Thousands of Georgia residents are arrested on Marijuana charges every year. Most of these arrest occur within the city of Atlanta. According to Georgia state law, those convicted can face six months up to 10 years in jail and a $1,000 fine. 54% of the residents in Atlanta is African American. With that being said, African Americans are four times as likely to get arrested on Marijuana charges, though used at the same rate.

US-ECONOMY-DRUGS-MAJIJUANA

Source: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty

Atlanta mayor candidate Kwanza Hall has been pushing the change in Atlanta laws since the spring. Hall stated ,“Court costs, the jail time, ruining young people’s lives, they lose their scholarships, it breaks up families, and it wastes our tax dollars. That’s the reason for doing this”. He believes that this legislation was necessary in order to address the disparity in the numbers of African Americans arrested for possession.

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Now that the Marijuana Decriminalization ordinance has been passed, the city of Atlanta no longer have to worry about unnecessary jail time for small amounts of Marijuana. This law only applies within the city limits of Atlanta, cities outside of that, Georgia state law will still apply.

Though the ordinance wasn’t passed at the state level, this is small victory for the city of Atlanta.

words by: Ericc Adkins

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