Nashville Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill
The metro council of Nashville, Tennessee has given their third and final approval to the city's marijuana decriminalization bill. The vote was held on Tuesday night and passed 35-3 with one abstain. It marks the beginning of major changes to come in the city's marijuana ordinances.
In the state of Tennessee, possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana is enough for a year of incarceration plus a $250 fine. More than 70 pounds can land a non-violent criminal behind bars for the rest of their lives with a sentence up to 30 years and a fine as high as $10,000.
Under the new bill, possession of anything less than a half ounce will not warrant jail time, and instead face a potential $50 fine or community service.
The ACLU showed their support for the legislation, saying they applaud the members of Metro Council for Tuesday's vote. “For far too long thousands of Nashvillians – including a disproportionate number of black residents – have been arrested for possession of tiny amounts of Marijuana,” stated an ACLU representative to Fox17 News.
The representative went on to commend the legislation for its ability to free up law enforcement to focus on violent crime and community safety.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry also released a statement to show her support of Tuesday's vote, calling it a “positive step forward in addressing the overly punitive treatment of marijuana possession.” She also noted that the ordinance does not legalize the sale, use, or possession of marijuana in Nashville.