Proposed update to marijuana ordinance going before commissioners

Augusta Commission to hold first reading of proposed new marijuana ordinance

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Augusta commissioners will be discussing marijuana and what happens when people are caught in the community with small amounts of the drug.

It comes from a motion to amend Augusta Code Section 3-7-33 Marijuana. The solicitor’s office made the original proposal to change the misdemeanor charge one gets when found with an ounce or less of marijuana. John Clarke, Commissioner for District 10, explained, “Instead of taking them to court, levy a fine on them at this particular time, and unclog the court system.” Terrell ‘Keyway’ Lynn, who has lived in Augusta his whole life, said, "I feel like it’s definitely a step in the right direction. You shouldn’t be in jail for that. It should be a simple offense. It shouldn’t be on your criminal record.”

Right now, a person found with an ounce or less of marijuana can pay up to $1,000 and spend 60 days in jail. The proposal changes this to drop jail time altogether, and have people pay $150 for the first two offenses, and $300 for every offense after that. Commissioner Clarke said, “I think this is a way to try to send a message and try to get control of it to begin with, and see where it goes.”

Commissioners will have their first reading of the proposed change on August 20. If it passes through, it will have to be read and voted on a second time before it becomes solidified.

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