Shelby County marijuana ordinance fails first reading - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County marijuana ordinance fails first reading

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

Shelby County Commission voted against a marijuana ordinance.

Commissioners were debating whether unincorporated Shelby County would join Memphis in giving officers more leeway on punishing people found in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

On Monday, county commissioners decided against falling in line with Memphis' new ordinance.

The county's ordinance was sponsored by commissioners Van Turner and Reginald Milton. It would've lessened the penalty for possession of a half an ounce of marijuana. However, it does not decriminalize possession of marijuana. It only keeps people caught with an half an ounce from having a criminal record.

Those opposed to the ordinance said it is a bad idea.

"Y'all know this marijuana is extremely carcinogenic," Heidi Shafer said. Shafer is against the passage of the ordinance.

However, those in favor of the ordinance said it would free up some space in a crowded court system.

"We're clogging up courts with these cases that are non-violent half ounce marijuana use. We are wasting the court's time," Reginald Milton said.

The vote was 7-4 against the ordinance. 

It has two more readings. For those who want to see it passed, they have a lot of convincing to do between now and the other two readings.

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