Possession of small amounts of marijuana decriminalized in East Point

EAST POINT, Ga. — The city of East Point will soon join other cities like Atlanta and Savannah in decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The city council passed an ordinance on Dec. 18 that will require a $75 fine or community service instead of jail time, for violators found with an ounce or less of the drug.

“I have relatives in jail right now,” East Point City Councilman Lance Robertson said.

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Robertson authored the ordinance and told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington the issue is personal to him.

“It’s a lower penalty, therefore it’s just a ticket now,” Robertson said. “So, this helps us be better as we move into 2024.”

“These low-level, non-violent offenders are not the people we need to be populating our jails with,” criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Musa Ghanayem said on Wednesday.

Ghanayem said he has represented people with drug charges and too often they are either Black or brown.

A NAACP report showed that while African Americans and white Americans use drugs at similar rates, Black people are six times more likely to be incarcerated for drug charges than white people.


“If more Black or brown people are pulled over and marijuana is found on them and arrest is required by law, you’re going to have more Black and brown arrests,” Ghanayem said.

City leaders said the ordinance will free up police resources and reduce court costs.

The ordinance is expected to go into effect in the city of East Point in early 2024.

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