Shelby County Commission votes against marijuana ordinance again - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County Commission votes against marijuana ordinance again

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

For the third and final time, the Shelby County Commission voted against the marijuana ordinance Wednesday.

The ordinance would have determined whether or not the county would join Memphis in giving officers more leeway when came to marijuana punishments.

County Commissioner Reginald Milton sponsored the now-failed ordinance. He said despite the vote against his ordinance, he believes something similar to it will pass some day.

"This will pass some day--five years from now 10 years from now--some day it will pass because this is the direction the country is going," Milton said.

Officials said the county commission could revisit the ordinance in a few years, but for now it has voted against it.

Currently, Shelby County deputies have two options when they find a person with more than half an ounce of marijuana on them: they can send them to a one-time treatment center or charge them with a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 11 months and 29 days in jail.

Commissioners that voted against the ordinance said decriminalizing marijuana is not something county commission has the power to do.

"You can't write a local ordinance that trumps state or federal law. It's just that simple," Terry Roland said.

Those critics point to the fact that Memphis' decriminalization efforts passed in October have already been suspended because the Tennessee Attorney General said the ordinance was illegal.

Roland said he personally supports medical marijuana legislation, but said county commissioners don't have the power to make that law at this time.

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