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Concern Over Fairness Of Marijuana Ordinance Grows

Posted at 9:15 PM, Oct 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-04 22:53:14-04
Under a new Metro ordinance, officers have the power to decide whether or not a person will be charged or issued a citation for possessing marijuana, but man have questioned if it will be fair to everyone.
 
The recently approved ordinance would allow that decision to be made for anyone who is in possession of a half ounce of marijuana or less.
 
The consequences would either be a misdemeanor under state law or a Metro citation with a civil penalty rather than proceed with a criminal arrest.
 
"I don't think we should be allowing police to be the judge and the jury. Their job is to do what the legislator tells them to do," said Steve Glover, Metro Counsel Member. "Whenever you leave it at the discretion of officers, then you do leave it open for discrimination you do it open it up for unattended consequences. Is it going to be a white issue is it going to a black issue is it going to be a rich issue is it going to be a poor issue? We've left way too much grey area out in this on."
 
Council members and others have begun trying to create a way to track marijuana arrests and citations to try to prevent situations like these.
 
Though not everyone was happy about the new ordinance, the founder of the Tennessee Cannabis Coalition thinks it's a step in the right direction.
 
"Hopefully Chief Anderson will work with law enforcement in Nashville to address that issue specifically to see if it impacts racial disparity or not hopefully we won't see that with this particular ordinance," said Founder of the Tennessee Cannabis Coalition Cecily Shamim.
 
One thing that was clear: both Council members and cannabis supporters want clearer and more consistent laws statewide. Many things will be taken into consideration when deciding who will be ticketed and who will be arrested.
 
A felon in possession of a weapon will most likely be arrested and charged with the misdemeanor and if it is a first time offender, they may be ticketed.