Community meets to discuss, understand marijuana ordinance - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Community meets to discuss, understand marijuana ordinance

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Five days before the City of Memphis’s third and final reading of a proposed marijuana ordinance, a panel convened in Frayser to educate citizens on the pros and cons of decriminalizing marijuana.

“What is the purpose behind it and what are we trying to do?” Yevandlier Stribling said.

Stribling and others got a good seat at the community meeting Thursday night. She has three sons and said she is trying to keep them on the right track.

“This is an informational meeting that helps us be able to learn,” Stribling said.

The meeting was hosted by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Memphis graduate chapter. They said they have no opinion on the matter.

“We want the public to come out and be informed as to what the ordinance reads and how it affects you,” chapter president Daryl Lewis said.

People from all walks of life with various perspectives on the issue were on the panel.

“It makes no sense to keep incarcerating these people for these type of offenses,” retired Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Captain Bennie Cobb said.

Not everyone agreed with Cobb.

“Our youth has no business smoking dope, period,” pastor Ricky Floyd said.

The ordinance was drafted by Memphis City Councilman Berlin Boyd.

“It's saying we are not going to convict them if we catch them with that small amount of marijuana,” Boyd said.

Boyd agrees, like many people, that decriminalizing marijuana could actually be beneficial to young people.

“We need to give them that second chance to not develop a criminal record so they can get back to work,” State Sen. Sara Kyle said.

A police colonel on the panel said it is the job of Memphis police to simply enforce the law.

“Gives our officers discretion on if we want to issue the ordinance or make an arrest,” Kyle said.

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