The ordinance, which is similar to one passed recently by the Nashville Metro City Council (that measure currently awaits a signature from Mayor Megan Barry), gives police officers the option of issuing a City Court citation punishable by a $50 f(or community service) for the possession of up to a half an ounce of cannabis. This is drastically different from current law, which mandates that officers arrest and charge someone caught with under a half ounce of cannabis with a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.
The Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee of the Memphis City Council (which is made up of eight of the council’s 13 members) has voted 5 to 2 to pass an ordinance that would establish a $50 ticket for possession of up to half an ounce of cannabis. The ordinance will now go to the full council, who will put the measure through its first reading on September 6th.
Those who voted in favor of the measure are Councilmembers Martavius Jones, Berlin Boyd, Philip Spinosa Jr., Edmund Ford Jr. and Jamita Swearengen. Those who voted against the proposal are Councilmembers Joe Brown and Janis Fullilove. Committee chairman Worth Morgan abstained from voting.