EAST POINT, Ga. (Atlanta News First) – East Point has now joined a small but growing list of Georgia cities that have voted to decriminalize marijuana possession of an ounce or less.
Of the 535 cities in the state, East Point is just the 13th to make the move.
Now, people arrested for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana will be given a $75 fine or community service, but will not be punished with jail time.
The ordinance, unanimously approved by the East Point City Council on Dec. 19, almost identically mirrors a similar ordinance down the road in Atlanta.
East Point is the second city to decriminalize this year, following Camilla.
“Georgia is very, very behind the times when it comes to (decriminalization),” said Scotty Smart, a marijuana policy advocate with the group New Georgia Project.
Smart notes that Georgia has the fourth highest rate of simple marijuana possession in the entire country, and Black and brown residents are three to four times more likely to be arrested on that charge.
“Enactment of an ordinance concerning the offense of simple marijuana possession is further intended to prevent young people from entering the criminal justice system and avoiding the enduring stigma associated therewith,” reads part of the ordinance language.
The ordinance also states that decriminalization will also help open up police resources and eliminate costs “by reducing the amount of time police officers spend in connection with the arrest, processing and…