Memphis council approves marijuana-related ordinance

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – The Memphis City Council has narrowly approved an ordinance that would allow police to reduce the penalty for people who possess a small amount of marijuana.

The council voted 7-6 Tuesday after lengthy discussion from people on both sides of the issue.

The measure says a police officer who comes across someone in possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana has the option of issuing a civil citation for a $50 fine or community service, rather than arresting the individual.

Such a penalty is in contrast to Tennessee law, which calls for people caught with a half-ounce of marijuana or less to face a misdemeanor criminal charge punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine

The Nashville Metropolitan Council approved a similar ordinance Sept. 20.