City of Temple set to consider new marijuana ordinance – no jail time

Updated: 5/1/2017 – The Temple City Council voted on the proposed marijuana ordinance that resulted in a 2 to 2 tie. The mayor is not allowed to break a tie on ordinances. Council member Penny Ransom said she intends to revisit the issue after the June 20th special election to replace a deceased council member.  From FOX 5 News.

Temple GA: On April 3rd the City of Temple will begin the process to amend the city’s marijuana ordinance that would remove jail time and reduce the fine for one ounce or less of cannabis.

Following in the footsteps of the cities of Clarkston and Atlanta, council member Penny Ransom will present the proposed ordinance for the first reading at the next scheduled council meeting. A public hearing and a vote will come over the next four weeks.

State law allows cities to create an ordinance for one ounce or less of marijuana with up to $1000 fine and 6 months confinement. State law allows up to 12 months confinement. It does not stipulate a minimum penalty.

A hearing will be held on April 13 to allow citizens and stakeholders to provide information and ask questions.

Georgia CARE Project (Campaign for Access Reform and Education) began the City by City Initiative when they proposed an ordinance change in Athens-Clarke County in 2015.

Last July, the City of Clarkston passed a reform ordinance that removes incarceration and allows for a citation and up to a $75 fine. City officials expressed interest in reducing the harm state marijuana laws create on those caught with personal use amounts.

The key features to the ordinance is removal of an arrest record and elimination of jail time.

Georgia CARE director James Bell said the public no longer wants to incarcerate citizens for marijuana possession and cities are willing to consider a less Draconian approach to the issue.

“We are encouraged that various cities in Georgia are willing to debate the issue”, Bell said. “We hope as more cities reform their ordinances it will send a message to state legislators that Georgians no longer want to create criminals out of those who use cannabis. But, we understand there is still a desire by some to show disapproval of cannabis use.”

Georgia CARE will continue to reach out to cities and help educate councils on the reform process.

City of Temple seeks to reduce marijuana possession penalties

Temple GA: At the end of a combative three hour council meeting Thursday night, a meeting one council member publicly called “a pissing match”, council member Penny Ransom brings unite to the meeting by putting marijuana law reform on the table.

Ransom told the mayor and council she wants the city to consider replacing the current marijuana ordinance with one similar to the city of Clarkston. She suggested that meetings occur over the next several weeks to discuss the details of the ordinance and expressed her concerns that the current ordinance is to harsh at $1000 fine and 180 days in jail.

Her proposal was received with head nods and applause by some council members and citizens.

The state constitution allows cities to create an ordinance for one ounce or less, enabling the cases to be adjudicated in municipal courts. While state law for misdemeanor possession carries a penalty of up to $1000 fine and 12 months in jail or probation, cities are restricted to 180 days confinement under a city ordinance. The constitution does not set a minimum sentence a city can impose.

Clarkston made headline news last summer by enacting an ordinance that sets a $75 fine for each offense of possession of one ounce or less of cannabis, eliminating the requirement to arrest and incarcerate the suspect.

Temple is one of the cities being targeted by the “City by City Initiative” established by the Georgia CARE Project in an effort to reduce the harm marijuana laws create.

James Bell, director of Georgia CARE , said cities that enact reform legislation are mirroring public opinion that people should not be treated as criminals for possession of small amounts.

No criminal record would be generated under this ordinance.

“Cities can handle these cases without criminalizing its citizens and visitors to their city”, said Bell. “A person would receive a citation and agree to appear in court or pay the set fine without being arrested, booked, photographed and finger printed like a criminal.”

Bell points out the proposed ordinance would not effect the ability of police to arrest for intent to distribute or driving under the influence. State law would be used in these cases.

We will update this report as the process moves forward.

2017 5th Annual Cannabis Awareness and Lobby Day

Our Goal:

Cannabis Awareness Day is designed to bring citizens from across Georgia to the State Capitol to show support for cannabis law reform. In the process, we teach citizens how to advocate for or against a bill, how to meet their legislators (State Representatives & Senators), where to find their offices, and meet fellow activists who support the cause.


Itinerary for Monday 27th:

The event is from 9:00am to 3:00pm and a hearing on Senate Bill 105 will take place at 4:00pm.

Feel free to attend any time during the day you are available. It is recommended that you set aside at least two hours for this event if you are going to attend, so that you have time to speak with people.

Some of us will be attending the Wild Hog Supper at 5:30 at the Depot. Take into consideration the hearing at 4:00 could run past an hour. The meeting room and Depot is only a block apart.


  • 9:00am:

We will meet in Room 328 in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building (CLOB) at 9am -10am for orientation. CLOB is across the street from the capitol on the south side. You will need a photo ID to enter these buildings. For those who have no experience at the Capitol, we will show you around and help you locate your legislator.

You can also do your homework and find the name and photo of your legislators. See Below.



  • 1:00 Lunch:


We will gather at the Sloppy Floyd Cafeteria for lunch – lower floor. Pay your way. It has a good selection of sandwiches, salad bar, and other selections ranging from $5 to $10. A snack bar is available on  the 1st floor of the capitol. We recommend you BRING BOTTLED WATER.


Tips for Talking with Legislators:

  1. Do not be negative, argumentative, or behave angrily toward the legislator. This behavior will only give them a reason to ignore your request.
  2. Don’t identify yourself as being with a group or Georgia CARE Project. It may predispose the legislator to bias in regard to your statements. Identify yourself as a citizen activist. Because you are not being paid, this is completely factual.
  3. You will only have a few minutes to speak. Try to be concise. Incorporate the story of someone affected personally by the laws if you can, as this speaks louder than facts sometimes.
  4. Make a clear statement about how you want them to vote before you say goodbye. Don’t forget!
  5. Report back to us about any conversations with legislators so we can learn and share as needed.


Legislation we support:

  • House Resolution 36: Public Vote on in-state cultivation (2018)
  • House Bill 65: Medical Cannabis Expansion Bill
  • House Bill 465: Industrial Hemp Experimental Crop Research and Commission
  • Senate Bill 105: Marijuana Decriminalization (Harm Reduction)

Legislation we oppose:

  • Senate Bill 16: Reduces THC limits in Low THC Oil to 3% from 5%


Talking Points:

There are several bills we are supporting. We only want to express our support for the bill and offer a short explanation why. If they have time to engage you in conversation you can further explain why. If they oppose the bill, be polite and encourage their support for the bill. Move on.


Office to Office:

We plan on delivering an information packet to as many offices as possible. Especially to those sitting on committees that will hear our bills.


Parking (See Map):

  • Parking is available in the area. It is recommended that you use the parking decks or the lot closest to the CLOB .

The Underground Atlanta Parking deck is just west of the capitol  75 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., SW Atlanta, GA 30303 . This deck is suggested if you are attending the Wild Hog Supper that evening at the Rail Road Depot – 5:30. FEE -by the hour. Pay on exit.

Pete Hackney Parking Deck 62 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE Atlanta, GA 30303. Cheapest $5 flat rate pay on entry. Follow the signs at the elevator to use the walking bridge to the Sloppy Floyd Twin Towers Building on the north side of capitol.

Liberty Plaza Parking Lot – Capitol Ave. located on the southeast side of the capitol. This may be the most convenient parking at $10 (pay station) if space is available. Look for the Flags and Liberty Bell. A flagman is usually there flagging in customers. It is just steps away from the capitol.