City of Clarkston Wants $5 Fine for Marijuana Possession

Georgia C.A.R.E. Project has been engaged in talks with several city concerning enacting ordinances that would decriminalization marijuana.

While several cities in Georgia have local marijuana possession ordinances that penalize up to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine, the City of Clarkston, just east of Atlanta, wants to make the fines $5.00 with a written citation like a parking ticket.

James Bell, director of Georgia C.A.R.E. Project said he will provide testimony to the Public Safety Committee of Clarkston as soon as the issue is placed on the agenda.

“Local governments can reduce the harm marijuana prohibition causes by establishing local ordinances and removing arrest from the sanctions”, said Bell . “We will work with any city willing to take a look at this process.”

Bell said local laws can remove the threat of arrest and the burden of incarceration and enhance public safety by diverting resources from marijuana arrests to crimes against people and property.

Below is a report from CBS 46 News Team.

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A metro Atlanta council member says if he could make marijuana legal, he would. But since he can’t, he wants to make it almost-legal.

“It’s already on the books,” said Dean Moore, who is a councilman in Clarkston, located about 17 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta.

The city of Clarkston, including its police force, already have the authority to exercise discretion when it comes to pot. He wants to make that discretion the norm.

Under current state law, those found in possession of marijuana can end up serving a year in jail. He’s proposing lowering the punishment to as little as a $5 ticket for getting caught with pot.

In 2015, 70 people went to jail for marijuana in Clarkston. Moore hopes his proposal helps keep young people away from jail, getting a life-tainting criminal record.

“Why would we have to burden our system with people just for the use of this and have them end up being homeless and in poverty,” said Moore.

Some people have expressed concern the measure would promote use and abuse.

“I think that’s just a breezeway for everyone that wants to abuse it, period,” said Lekiesha Johnston who lives in Clarkston.