Georgia city wants to change marijuana law
TEMPLE, Ga. - A Georgia city wants to reduce the penalties for people caught with small amounts of marijuana.
Temple wants to reduce the fine from a thousand dollars to $75 for anyone with less than an ounce of pot with no jail time.
WATCH: Hear in their own words what city officials have to say about the proposed change in the law
The city said it is because a lot of college kids drive through the city.
“What I have the power to do is introduce amendments to an already existing ordinance that limits the punishment for less than an ounce of marijuana within the city of Temple,” said Council Member Penny Ransom.
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Ransom announced the plans to do just that at last week's city council meeting. She believes the penalties spelled out in the current marijuana possession ordinance are too severe for an offender caught in possession of less than an ounce of pot.
“And what that ordinance says is you can have up to a thousand dollars in fines, 180 days in jail, or both and that's left up to the discretion of a judge on a case by case basis,” said Ransom.
Under Ransom's proposal, someone caught with less than an ounce of pot and had committed no other offenses would receive a $75 fine and no jail time. The councilwoman's plan mirrors a similar ordinance the city of Clarkston passed in 2016.
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“While we want to move forward and make a decision expeditiously we also don't want to be so hasty that we have overlook something,” City Administrator Bill Osborne said.
Osborne is preparing a full report on the proposal to present to city council members at next month's meeting that will include input from Clarkston city officials.
“Ok if you had it to do over again what would you do different so we could benefit by their experience, their success and their mistakes,” said Osborne.
As it stands now Ransom said the punishment doesn't fit the crime; the penalties are too severe.
“That person could possibly not have a job not have transportation have an arrest record and jail time on their record could they apply for a loan? The consequences are so far to me outreaching,” said Ransom.