Clarkston, Georgia legislators passed an amendment this week that lowers the penalty for those caught with an ounce or less of marijuana and encourages officers to issue a citation instead of an arrest. Charges for less than an ounce of marijuana will now be capped at $75. Concerns came after some citizens were charged with $200-660 in fines. Mario Williams, Public Safety Committee chairman, has stated that an arrest for simple possession has both short and long term harsh consequences that takes a toll on both the person and the community. The demand for marijuana to be treated as a civil offense rather than criminal has grown throughout the state and Mayor Terry of Clarkston has said Georgia will be the first state to set the minimum fine for possession of an ounce of pot.
"It is a proven fact that arresting people ... for simple possession of an once or less of marijuana has damaging effects long-term and short-term on their lives," he said. "And that's why we took a step forward and mitigated those effects today."
"In order to be a leader you have to go first, so Clarkston is going first," he said. "We will be the first state to set a minimum fine for possession of one ounce of marijuana."