Marijuana ordinance heads to third, final Memphis Council meeting where it could be passed

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The highly-discussed marijuana ordinance in Memphis made it through Tuesday’s City Council meeting, which means it has one more meeting until it could be passed.

As the idea of a marijuana ordinance gets passed around in Memphis, it’s not hard to find people with an opinion.

“If you can go buy a bottle of liquor and become violent and drink and drive and be a havoc to society, I don’t see why people who smoke pot should be punished,” said Don May who lives in Memphis.

A Memphis City Councilman proposed the punishments change for those caught with less than half an ounce, recommending a $50 fine and community service.

“We want to make sure our law enforcement has another tool in their toolbag they can offer that’ll give individuals a second chance,” said Brenda Gilmore, chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus.

On Monday, Tennessee Black Caucus leaders came to Memphis to show their support.

“This is all part of an effort to make the criminal justice system more fair,” said Lee Harris with the Black Caucus.

They said it’s not fair officers spend an average of two and a half hours on every arrest of someone who has less than an ounce of marijuana.

Time they said that ties up resources when there aren’t enough of them to go around, filling our jail near capacity.

“We cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” said Councilman Berlin Boyd.

Councilman Boyd said the goal is to keep youth out of jail and instead offer them another chance.

The ordinance will go before City Council again on October 4 where it could be passed.

Councilman Boyd said he doesn’t plan on it being revised again.

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