Atlanta City Council voted unanimously to pass legislation that will decriminalize marijuana possession. Introduced by Atlanta mayoral candidate Kwanza Hall, this new legislation will dramatically decrease the penalty for marijuana possession and make it a non arrestable offense.
It will change the penalty in the Atlanta Municipal Code for marijuana possession less than an ounce from the “general penalty” –which is a fine up to $1000 and up to six months in jail — to a maximum fine of $75 and no jail time.
Why Does This Matter?
It matters because the current legislation is racist and affects primarily Black males. In Atlanta, the overwhelming number of arrests for marijuana-related offenses are African-Americans (92%), even though studies have determined that usage is at similar levels across racial demographics.
“Today we stand with every parent of Atlanta who is fearful of or has seen their children’s lives destroyed, or careers ruined because of a racist policy that unjustly incarcerated minorities by more than ninety percent,” Kwanza Hall
I think that this is a smart decision and judging by the unanimous vote the Atlanta City Council agrees. One by one states across the country are either legalizing marijuana all together or creating laws that allow it to be grown and used for medicinal purposes. Lives are being saved. Money is being made and you can no longer criminalize something that is having such positive affect on society especially when a minor infraction such as marijuana possession is having such a negative impact on the Black community. There are much more pressing crimes that need to be dealt with citywide and these arrests are just clogging up the system and ruining peoples lives for no reason.
One of the most powerful speakers during the vote was Charnette Trimble of Council District 4.
“You destroy the black male, and you destroy the black family unit.”
As it stands Mayor Kasim Reed has about a week to either to sign off on it or veto it.