TN: Would Marijuana Ordinance Work In Chattanooga?

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Chattanooga, Tenn. – Now that Nashville and Memphis city leaders are voting on proposed city ordinances to allow police to reduce the penalty for people caught with less than a half ounce of marijuana, the question now is whether Chattanooga should follow.

Under the Nashville and Memphis proposed ordinances, police officers would decide if a person caught with less than a half ounce of marijuana should be arrested or cited. But Chattanooga city councilman Larry Grohn says there’s a problem with those proposal because most people are caught with marijuana after breaking another law.

“The idea that you’re okay with a certain amount of marijuana but not okay if you break the law, well breaking the law is a headlight is out. Breaking the law is a tail light that is out or not using a turn signal. You can’t have it one way and have it the other way. If we’re going to decriminalize a certain amount, well then we decriminalize it across the board with no stipulations,” Grohn said.

Possession of any amount of marijuana is still considered illegal by state law; which is why Grohn would prefer this issue be addressed by the state legislature, so that a city ordinance will not conflict with state laws.

“We’re just inviting a problem for our police and law enforcement to be criticized for being subjective in something. We need to have clear cut regulations on this,” Grohn said.

Another question is whether or not a city ordinance on marijuana would impact criminal case loads on Hamilton County prosecutors by reducing the number of drug cases?

“The impact it would or would not have is unknown at this time because the officers could decline to follow that particular city measure and enforce state laws that’s written, so you would theoretically have the same number of cases,” said Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Would Marijuana Ordinance Work In Chattanooga?
Author: Erik Avanier
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Photo Credit: Evan Abell
Website: WDEF