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.

Legislative Update from the Capitol and Atlanta City Council – Week of Feb. 20th

This week has been a busy week for the issue of cannabis in Georgia.

Here is a recap of the events and an important ACTION ITEM.


Atlanta City Ordinance:

On Tuesday, the city of Atlanta held a hearing on the repeal and reform of certain “quality of life” ordinances that have been used to criminalize poverty – like arrests for jaywalking. One of the issues is also marijuana possession. Under state law, Georgia cities have the authority to adjudicate over marijuana cases in municipal court.

The question for Atlanta  – Should the city ordinance be repealed or modified?

Georgia CARE Director James Bell spoke to the issue and recommended to the public safety subcommittee to keep and modify the ordinance similar to that of the city of Clarkston, GA. That ordinance allows for citation for the possession of one ounce or less and a $75 fine, with no arrest or criminal record.

Georgia CARE Project established the “City by City” initiative to encourage local governments to reduce the harmful impact that state laws wreak on the lives of Georgians across the state.


State Level

House Bill 65:

Rep. Allen Peake presented his medical cannabis oil bill to the House Judiciary Non-civil committee. No vote was taken but the bill will be up for a full committee vote as soon as next week. The bill will add 8 more medical conditions to existing law and removes “end stage” requirements for many of the conditions. A competing bill in the senate (SB-16), which we oppose, was passed on the floor the Senate and will have to reconciled in the house. The bill would lower THC to 3% in oil.


Senate Bill 105:

Sen. Harold Jones II presented his marijuana law “harm reduction” bill to the Senate Judiciary subcommittee where it passed by a vote of 3-1. The bill would establish a citation with no arrest and a $300 fine for ½ ounce or less, and move the felony possession line to 2 ounces from 1 ounce. James Bell from the Georgia CARE Project and others activists testified before the committee.

The Senate Judiciary committee is voting on SB-105 on Monday, the 27th at 4pm. This will decide whether it goes to the Senate floor so it’s very important! Please find details on an action item to contact committee members below.


House Bill 465:

Rep. John Pezold filed this Industrial Hemp Commission bill following the state of Kentucky’s efforts to grow and experiment with hemp cultivation. Hemp is defined as possessing .3% THC or less. Rep. Allen Peake, author of the medical cannabis oil bill, and Rep. Tom McCall, chairman of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs have co-signed the bill with others.


Please Take Action:

On Monday February 27 starting at 9am in Room 328 in the Capitol, Georgia CARE Project is hosting the:

5th Annual Cannabis Awareness Day

We invite citizens to come to the State capitol and help advocate for the bills being debated. We will provide talking points, tips on how to speak with legislators, and suggestions on how to accomplish our goals for the day.