One city in Georgia may soon become the first in the state to decriminalize cannabis. The move for decriminalization is being spearheaded by Ted Terry, the Mayor of Clarkston in Dekalb County.
A law approved by the Georgia Legislature in 1983, which allows municipal court systems to make such changes, paved the way for Clarkston to move to a model of decriminalization.
If approved, possession of up to one ounce of cannabis in Clarkston would be treated more like a traffic ticket, punishable by a $5 fine (yes, just $5).
“This is still a controversial issue. At some point it’s going to take a city council, county commission, mayor or elected officials to step up and do something,”
said Mayor Terry.
“It’s obvious that the war on drugs has been a failure.”
The Clarkston police department arrested 70 people, of a population of just 13,000, for personal possession in 2015, and Mayor Terry acknowledges that there are more pertinent issues to address. “I don’t want our police officers to spend their time worrying about low-level nonviolent drug offenses. I’m more concerned about stopping violent crime and burglaries in Clarkston,” he said.
Terry also stated that he doesn’t believe a person’s life should be ruined for something “as harmless as being in possession of a very small amount.” The Clarkston City Council is expected to vote on the issue of decriminalization in May.