Pot activist Tom McCain with Peachtree NORML says he's anxiously waiting to see how Bibb commissioners vote on an ordinance to decriminalization possession of less than one ounce of weed. "The attitudes are changing about marijuana possession and marijuana use," said McCain.
4 commissioners say they're in favor of decriminalization:
-Al Tillman: YES. Sponsored the bill
-Virgil Watkins: YES. Sponsored the bill.
-Larry Schlesinger: YES. "My main concern is that young people, in particular, do not register the danger on their records due to youthful indiscretion because that misdemeanor can easily dog them for the rest of their life," stated Schlesinger.
-Elaine Lucas: YES. "We don’t need to criminalize our young people. I think when you waive this particular thing against all other things, we need to take this step. Other municipalities like Atlanta and Savannah have already taken this step. I think we should lead the way," stated Lucas.
4 commissioners say they'll vote against it:
-Valerie Wynn: NO. "We’re not Atlanta, the fine of up to a $1,000 and a year in prison is a little steep, if they want to talk about negotiating that. You should look at the fact that marijuana in the state of Georgia is still illegal," stated Wynn.
-Mallory Jones: NO. "Marijuana is a gateway drug," stated Jones.
-Joe Allen: NO. "I support not putting our young men and women in jail for small amounts of marijuana. However, I'd like to have a discussion about the amount of pot and the fines," stated Allen.
-Scotty Shepherd: NO. "The codes in place are good," stated Shepherd.
"We've got 9 jurisdiction in Georgia already that have enacted some type of legislation reducing the harm caused by marijuana, a decriminalization of marijuana," said McCain.
McCain says local governments passing legislation like this one sends a signal to state legislators that there's support for a change.
We could not reach commissioner Bert Bivins for comment on how he expects to vote. Commissioners plan to vote on the bill on May 7th at 6 p.m. at the government center.
Watkins and Tillman held a town hall at Overtyme Bar and Grill on Eisenhower Parkway Tuesday as well. People from the community were encouraged to attend and ask questions. The commissioners discussed the serious offenses young African-American males face if caught with the drug.