Officials in Fulton County are trying to reduce the jail population and they think making the punishment for possession of marijuana a non-arrestable offense may help in their efforts to do just that.
Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts along with commissioners Marvin Arrington and Natalie Hall explained why they want to see the penalty for possession of marijuana reduced to a fine.
"You have a young person who makes a silly mistake as we all have made them," said Pitts. "You certainly don't want that on your record for the rest of your life which can prohibit you or cause you problems as you go forward, not only from educational point of view but employment point of view as well."
The group says it will also reduce the jail population and cost on the county. It costs about $77 a day to house an inmate. Commissioner Hall also says this would help law enforcement.
"Our officers need to be on the street fighting more serious crimes. That will free their time up to do that as well," said Hall.
However, commissioners don't want people to think they're going soft on crime and others, like commissioner Arrington, agree with that position.
"They still have to get a citation. They still have to go to court. They still have to answer for what they've done but they are just not being arrested on sight," says Arrington. "We believe that's just a more sensible and humane way to handle this manner."
The goal is to get the other commissioner's support in about four to six weeks. Right now, the legislation would only cover the unincorporated parts of Fulton County.
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