Athens commissioners vote to decriminalize marijuana

Athens-Clarke County commissioners approved an ordinance that eliminates jail time and lowers the fine for having less than an ounce of cannabis to $35.

The decision was made at the commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday.

Commissioners wanted to require charging less than $35, but that was the mandatory minimum in the state.

The ordinance passed with an 8 to 1 vote.

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“I definitely am very much in favor of supporting this,” District 5 Commissioner Tim Denson said. “It’s been 10 years of people coming out and organizing around this and trying to get a parallel ordinance very similar to this happening. While we may not be prosecuting right now currently, it saddens me that people were prosecuted, that people’s lives were negatively impacted.”


The one commissioner who voted against the ordinance said it wasn’t the time to make this move.

“Marijuana is a gateway to other drugs. Maybe not to everyone, but for too many,” District 9 Commissioner Ovita Thornton said. “I am just not quite ready to support this.”

Atlanta’s city council decided unanimously to decriminalize marijuana back in 2017. The penalty for possessing 1 ounce or less is a $75 fine

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