One Savannah official says he thinks the city should reduce criminal penalties for marijuana possession.
Savannah Alderman Van Johnson announced this week on Facebook that he plans to propose City Council enact an ordinance to lower the fine from $1,000 to $150 and eliminate jail time for those found with less than one ounce of marijuana.
Johnson’s post explains that he feels marijuana arrests hinder young people’s ability to get a job or housing. The post says the ordinance also could relieve the strain on the criminal justice system.
There was one marijuana arrest every 48 seconds in the United States last year, according to Forbes.
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From Jan. 1 until Sept. 25 of this year, Savannah-Chatham police made 511 misdemeanor marijuana arrests — those involving less than one ounce — and 161 felony marijuana arrests, according to a report in The Savannah Morning News.
Earlier this month, Atlanta cut its fine for possessing an ounce or less of pot to a maximum of $75, the Associated Press reported.
In Dallas, officials on Tuesday approved a “cite and release” program that would mean those found with less than 4 ounces of marijuana would be issued a summons to appear in court instead of being arrested. That program begins Dec. 1, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Lisa Wilson: 843-706-8103