Those caught with an ounce or less of marijuana in Savannah will no longer be carted off to jail. Instead, they’ll just get a ticket that has a fine of up to $150. This is, of course, the officer finds no additional reason to take the “offender” to jail.
The law took effect on July 1, according to WSAV 3 News. Alderman Van Johnson sponsored the legislation. Twenty-percent of the fines will help local drug treatment programs.
Tray Brown said, “I think we needed this. All we have been seeing is jails fill up with people for a little marijuana.”
Savannah Alderman Van Johnson said, “It frees up our police officers and gives them the opportunity to really deal with violent crimes. We are also experiencing a 16-percent drop in crime. So, I think in this case it makes criminal justice sense and social justice sense.”
Johnson also said, “Marijuana in Georgia is illegal, but we just think for this type of crime and this instance, young people’s lives should not be destroyed because of this issue.”
He continued by saying, “People who want help can now get the help. We know marijuana, like some things can be addictive, and so if someone wants help and wants to turn their life around, then we want to provide a path out of that addiction.”
This new policy will make a big impact in the state.
Johnson said, “We were able to do this locally and now Savannah is the first city in this area to be able to do it. We certainly hope we won’t be the last.”