Athens, Georgia on Cusp of Major Decriminalization Ordinance

The city of Athens, Georgia is on the brink of a significant drug reform, with the Athens-Clarke County Legislative Critique Committee passing a evaluate that is currently being hailed as “Georgia’s most in depth cannabis decriminalization ordinance.”

The ordinance, which was permitted unanimously by the committee final 7 days, “would reduce the penalties for possession of misdemeanor quantities of cannabis (defined as significantly less than 28 grams) by generating these infractions a 1$ fine,” according to Pupils for Sensible Drug Plan, which highlighted some of its advocacy endeavours in Athens-Clarkes County in a weblog put up on Thursday.

The group suggests it has been “lobbying Athens Clarke county to minimize penalties for hashish possession” due to the fact 2017, and that it was eventually “able to carry collectively community stakeholders and community officials ahead of the legislative evaluation committee to hatch out a strategy of assault.”

When applied, the ordinance would make “possessing under 28 grams of any cannabis product or service a civil infraction,” according to Learners for Smart Drug Policy, although also enshrining the “already typical methods by the District Legal professional and Athens Clarke County Police not to prosecute or arrest citizens 19 other municipalities across Ga have already handed equivalent ordinances.

The ordinance will enable Athens, the home of the College of Ga, stand apart in a point out that has been sluggish to embrace cannabis reform.

Immediately after the vote by the committee very last 7 days, Raiden Washington, the College of Ga College students for Smart Drug Plan chapter president stated, that drug plan “that offers equitable access and hurt reduction means is a non-partisan issue.”

“The Drug War has influenced all communities across id and political lines, regardless of whether that’s due to shedding liked ones to overdoses or incarceration. It is time we stand alongside one another for our total community’s betterment,” Washington mentioned. “The equipment of the masters have been made use of by these who are oppressed.”

Pupils for Reasonable Drug Coverage mentioned that Ga is “one of only 19 states that still imposes jail time for basic possession of cannabis, and a person of only 13 that lacks a compassionate healthcare cannabis law.”

“The criminalization of drug possession fuels the US and Georgian mass criminalization process. GA has 183 jails in 159 counties. Georgia’’s whole county jail population in 2019 was 45,340. There ended up 420,000 people on probation in the condition,” Jeremy Sharp, SSDP’s South Jap Regional Director, wrote in the web site submit on Thursday. “There have been 54,113 folks underneath the jurisdiction of the GA Dept of Corrections in 34 point out and personal detention centers. The GA Division of Corrections experienced a employees of 9,169 employees and a finances of $1,205,012,739. 1 in 20 Georgians are on probation, parole, in Jail, or less than some form of supervision. The countrywide ordinary is 1 and 99. Private probation is an offender-funded process. Non-public companies with condition or regional contracts are allowed to charge people on probation with all types of more expenses and surcharges that far exceed their courtroom fines. Failure to fork out these fees can symbolize a violation of probation and danger re-entry into incarceration. Georgia has a lengthy historical past of oppressive authorized mechanisms employed to disenfranchise.”

The lack of obtain to medicinal cannabis in the state has been especially discouraging for advocates.

Lawmakers in Georgia legalized the cure back in 2015 by passing the Haleigh’s Hope Act, which permitted qualifying patients to receive hashish oil containing no more than 5% THC. But seven yrs soon after the bill’s passage, those people sufferers nevertheless are unable to legally access the oil.

A monthly bill that sought to change that unsuccessful in the Ga condition senate this spring.