City leaders voted unanimously 15-0 to pass the controversial issue of the decriminalization of marijuana in Atlanta on Monday. The proposal passed through a committee on September 26. City Councilman Kwanza Hall introduced the measure back in March. It calls for reducing the penalty for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a $75 fine and no jail time. That’s a dramatic drop from the penalty currently in place under state law which calls for up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
“In Atlanta and in Fulton County, 92 percent of the arrests for small amounts of marijuana are the arrests of African-Americans, that is the most biased rate of arrests in the country,” Councilman Hall told CBS46 News in September. “It’s not easy to convince a majority of 8 to 10 people and ideally a majority to agree to do something.” Hall and his team says it’s just one measure in a series of justice reform policies he has planned, but Hall acknowledges the proposal has been stalled since May.