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ACC Commission to vote on marijuana ordinance

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners are set to vote tonight on a new marijuana ordinance for the county. Martin Matheny has more.

Under the proposed ordinance, the penalty for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana would be just one dollar. At an agenda-setting meeting last month, District 2 Commissioner Mariah Parker addressed concerns that the new law would lead to more crime.

"I have known people in my life who have deeply struggled with alcohol - property damage, violence, repeated incarceration - who once they started using cannabis actually had healthier lives," Parker told their colleagues.

The practical effect of the ordinance is questionable, however. Under Georgia law, possession of less than an ounce can be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 as well as jail time, leaving the door open for prosecutors to charge offenders under the more lenient local ordinance or the far stricter state law.

Commissioners are also expected to vote on a resolution affirming local lawmakers' support for reproductive rights and encouraging the county manager to direct law enforcement to deprioritize enforcement of the state's abortion law.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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