Another city in Georgia is implementing a reformed policy regarding possession of marijuana. Kingsland City Council has voted to reduce penalties for having small amounts of the plant. One of the reasons noted for the change is racial profiling.
Before the vote on the new ordinance, there were no set regulations for marijuana possession in the town, according to All On Georgia. Councilman Mike McClain was one of the most supportive members regarding the change. Now, those in Kingsland that are found to have an ounce or less of marijuana on their person will no longer go directly to jail.
The new penalty will impose a fine of $150 on those with less than an ounce of marijuana. Jail time is no longer a factor for this offense.
Councilman Mike McClain said, “It is in Kingsland’s best interest to focus on hard drugs related to violent criminal offenses such as crack, methamphetamine, and heroin. Those drugs truly ravage communities and families. “
McClain also said, “I do not want to see a young man or woman looking to a bright future to have it squashed by outdated laws criminalizing the possession of a natural flower.”
The ordinance reads, in part, “It shall be unlawful for any person to possess one ounce or less of marijuana within the corporate limits of the City of Kingsland. Any person found guilty of violating this section shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $150.00. Where the Court finds that a defendant is without the financial means to pay a fine, the Court may direct the defendant to perform community service commensurate with the fine that would otherwise be imposed. In no event shall any person convicted of marijuana possession pursuant to this section be punished by imprisonment for any term. Any defendant charged hereunder with possession of one ounce or less of marijuana shall be entitled on request to have the case against the defendant transferred to the court having general misdemeanor jurisdiction in Camden County.”
McClain said, “There is a definite amount of racial profiling with the outdated law. We need to be on the right side of history, and I want to do the right thing. We are a small town, but we are not afraid of change when it goes to correctly police our community.”