Rallings, Weirich push back against decriminalizing marijuana - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Rallings, Weirich push back against decriminalizing marijuana

Director Rallings and DA Weirich presenting to Memphis City Council. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Director Rallings and DA Weirich presenting to Memphis City Council. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

After weeks of water cooler discussion among Memphians, city leaders now say they want more facts when it comes to marijuana.

City Councilman Berlin Boyd proposed decriminalizing possession of less than .5 ounce of marijuana. He says it will help free up our jails and help keep non-violent Memphians from a revolving life behind bars.

"This is something that needs to be done, and it's something that I think my colleagues will see as well," Boyd said.

Police Director Mike Rallings and District Attorney Amy Weirich spoke to council members Tuesday about what decriminalizing marijuana would look like in Memphis.

Rallings said while .5 ounces may sound like a small amount of marijuana, it's actually enough weed to roll 50 joints.

Weirich then said that drug charges are often used in connection with other more serious criminal charges.

"If you are behind bars because of a drug offense you have spent your entire life trafficking drugs and being a violent menacing criminal in our society," Weirich said.

She said in 2015, officers made 300 arrests solely for unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

"The notion that there are thousands of people in custody on misdemeanor marijuana is false," Weirich said.

Despite criticism, councilman Boyd says the ordinance has gained massive support from across the state and within city government.

The ordinance still faces multiple readings in council before it can be voted on. 

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