Nashville law would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An ordinance in Nashville seeks to reduce the penalty for people caught possessing or exchanging small amounts of marijuana.

MarijuanaThe Tennessean reports that under the new ordinance, people who possess or exchange a half-ounce of marijuana would face a civil penalty of $50. A court could also choose to suspend the civil penalty and order 10 hours of community service.

Under the current state law, people who commit the offense face a fine of $2,500 and a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year behind bars.

Metro Councilman Dave Rosenberg says the current law is time-consuming for police since they have to arrest people over a marijuana misdemeanor.

Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron says the police department opposes the law because the ordinance’s language removes discretion from officers.

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