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Atlanta mayor signs ordinance to decriminalize marijuana

The ordinance would take jail time off the table and reduce a fine to $75 for violators.

Mayor Kasim Reed announced Wednesday morning that he signed the city council ordinance decriminalizing marijuana.

He made the announcement on the Ryan Cameron show saying he signed the ordinance at 6:24 p.m. yesterday. Reed said they had a signing ceremony planned to include the politicians who played a roll in the legislation.

Reed's communications director also tweeted that the mayor endorsed mayoral candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Wednesday morning began with a tweet from the official Atlanta City Council twitter account saying that the mayor vetoed the ordinance.

They later recalled that tweet saying it was a mistake. According to Atlanta City Council Communications employee Tony Gomez, "Apparently our new over-zealous social media person tweeted the wrong thing."

It appears the legislation that was attached to the email that confused the unnamed employee was actually about selling land in Hapeville, Ga, not the marijuana ordnance.

READ | City council issues correction | Mayor did not veto legislation to decriminalize marijuana


Atlanta mayor candidate and District two City Council Member Kwanza Hall released this statement.

While this is a significant step forward for all of Atlanta, and especially parents who fear their children may be jailed for what used to be an unjust marijuana law, it was also just a common-sense reform. We should all thank the Mayor for his willingness to sign this ordinance into law. But most of all, I want to thank the people who spoke out and told their stories of families destroyed and lives ruined – it was the people who pushed this reform through. Today is a victory for grassroots organizers who fought tirelessly and created the momentum for us to deliver for the people. But while today's signing is significant, we have more to do to address the many ways that “Broken Windows” policing has unjustly and negatively impacted low-income people and people of color.

Check back for more updates as we get additional responses.


A vote to decriminalize is not a vote for legalization. Marijuana is still very illegal in the city of Atlanta. The decriminalization vote proposed a change to the way people are prosecuted after being found in possession marijuana within the city limits of Atlanta.

It would not have changed the way DUI's are prosecuted.

► INVESTIGATION | Drivers arrested while stone-cold sober


It took imprisonment off the books for people caught with less than an ounce of the illegal drug. The ordinance would have also reduced any potential fine to a maximum of $75.

Punishment would essentially become a citation, similar to a traffic ticket.

Under current law, possession of marijuana within the city of Atlanta is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for a period of up to six months.

► RELATED | Read the ordinance

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