The Memphis City Council voted today to pass an ordinance that will establish a $50 ticket for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. The vote was close, 7 to 6.
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.
Those oting for the ordinance were Councilmembers Berlin Boyd, Edmund Ford Jr., Reid Hedgepeth, Martavius Jones, Patrice Robinson, Philip Spinosa Jr. and Jamita Swearengen. Those voting against were Councilmembers Joe Brown, Frank Colvett Jr., Janis Fullilove, Worth Morgan, Bill Morrison and chairman Kemp Conrad.
With a population of roughly 650,000 people, Memphis is the second most populated city in Tennessee and the 20th most populated city in the United States.
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