NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Metro Council on Tuesday passed a major change to marijuana ordinances.
Tuesday night Metro Council approved the third vote to cut punishment for small pot possession. The vote was 35 yes, 3 no and 1 abstain.
Under the bill possessing a half ounce or less of pot would be a $50 fine or community service. Currently the crime is a misdemeanor that has led to jail time.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released the following statement after the ill passed:
“This legislation is a positive step forward in addressing the overly punitive treatment of marijuana possession in our state that disproportionately impacts low-income and minority residents. It is important to stress that this ordinance is not a license to sell, possess, or use marijuana in Nashville. When this ordinance becomes law, police officers will still have the ability to make arrests or issue state criminal citations for marijuana possession as circumstances warrant, which is a Class A misdemeanor under state law.”
The ACLU was also pleased with Tuesday’s outcome:
“ACLU-TN applauds the members of Metro Council who voted for a smarter approach to marijuana possession. For far too long, thousands of Nashvillians —including a disproportionate number of Black residents — have been arrested for possession of tiny amounts of marijuana. These arrests have led to disastrous consequences for their lives, including the loss of job, education and housing opportunities. This ordinance could significantly reduce the costly incarceration rate for this low-level violation, freeing law enforcement to focus on addressing violent crime and keeping our community safer.”