Shelby County Commission discusses marijuana ordinance - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County Commission discusses marijuana ordinance

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) -

Shelby County commissioners met Wednesday to talk about a proposed marijuana ordinance.

Commissioners are considering changing laws, like Memphis did, concerning the punishment of being found in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

"We're not saying kids go out here and smoke weed. We're not saying, 'Hey you can do this in front of law enforcement and not be arrested,'" Commissioner Van Turner said.

Turner is sponsoring a Shelby County ordinance that would change laws in unincorporated Shelby County to match new laws in Memphis.

If passed, the ordinance would not make marijuana legal, but it would give law enforcement three options if someone is caught with less than half an ounce of pot.

They could offer a one time only diversion effort, charge the person with a misdemeanor, or fine them $50 and require them to complete 10 hours of community service.

"I look at the impact it has on minorities, I look at the impact it has on youth, I look at the impact it has on the poor, and I feel this is a better alternative," Commissioner Reginald Milton.

Shelby County law enforcement representatives came out against the ordinance. They said it would cause crime to skyrocket.

"This is a bad way to go; you don't need to do this," Commissioner Eddie Jones said. "As far as I am concerned we ought to put the dope dealers out of business."

"The people I represent are against this," Commissioner Steve Basar said. "I am against it as well. So that's where I'm at."

The full commission is expected to vote on the ordinance Monday. 

If this ordinance passes it would only affect unincorporated Shelby County, not the Shelby County municipalities outside Memphis. 

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