Georgia C.A.R.E. Project is proud of our affiliate in Athens GA (Athens C.A.R.E. Project). On campus they continue to educate the students and in the city they are educating lawmakers.
This report from the Red and Black explores the option cities have in dealing with cannabis law enforcement.
A “City by City” campaign is being developed to take the reform issue to local governments.
Red and Black: Mario Williams, a councilman for Clarkston, said there are multiple reasons why he believes the way marijuana laws are enforced should be redefined.
One of these reasons, he said, was the discrepancies he has found in the penalties individuals could face for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Williams said it is possible for one person to face six months in prison for a first-time offense, while others could face up to a year as well as a $1,000 fine for the same crime.
“We don’t want arbitrary penalties for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana. We don’t want anybody spending or even being threatened with six months to a year in jail for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana,” Williams said. “Take away the imprisonment, fix the fines, add a public health component … to make it a ticket-only offense. [We’re] exercising our authority in this discrete area of law that Georgia has given us permission to regulate.”
Before writing the ordinance, Williams said the city sought the advice of numerous groups, including Law Enforcement Officers against Prohibition, a nonprofit organization made up of past and present law enforcement who believe the war on drugs has failed, as well as Georgia C.A.R.E. an activist organization dedicated to reforming Georgia’s cannabis laws.
“We’re raising awareness that marijuana being illegal is a social justice issue,” said Morgan King, a junior at the University of Georgia from Kennesaw and president of Athens C.A.R.E.
“We’re not just trying to legalize pot for ourselves, but for everyone who is arrested,” King said. “In Athens, you’re around three-times more likely to be arrested for marijuana if you’re black.”