ACLU: Memphis Marijuana Reform a Matter of 'Racial Justice' 

click to enlarge feature-1.jpg

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee is urging citizens to support a proposal before the Memphis City Council to decriminalize marijuana.

Two weeks ago, council member Berlin Boyd proposed lowering charges for those possessing a half ounce (or less) of marijuana. The new rule would allow Memphis Police Department (MPD) officers to enforce existing state rules on possession or the new charges proposed by Boyd.

State laws come with a maximum fine of $250 and up to a year in jail. Boyd’s original proposal called for a $50 fine for marijuana possession and, possibly, some community service. He has revamped the rule to include, among other things, a sliding scale of fines based on the number of times an individual is arrested on marijuana possession.

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, urged its members to contact city council members to support the proposal, calling the issue a matter of “racial justice” and that the state spends a large amount of money each year enforcing marijuana laws.

Here’s what Weinberg said in her letter:


“For too long, thousands of Memphians have been arrested for possession of tiny amounts of marijuana — leading to disastrous consequences for their lives, including the loss of job, education, and housing opportunities.

Make no mistake — this is an issue of racial justice. As of 2010, in Shelby County a black person was 4.2 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as a white person, though the two groups use marijuana at comparable rates.

Tell council members to reduce unjust and discriminatory marijuana arrests.

In 2010, approximately 42.2 percent of Tennessee drug arrests were for marijuana possession and Tennessee spent an estimated $42,948,820 enforcing marijuana possession laws.

This ordinance would significantly reduce the costly incarceration rate for this low-level violation, freeing law enforcement to focus on addressing violent crime.”


Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Politics Beat Blog

Angry Mayor Responds to Critics on Statue Removal

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Eclipse Special

From My Seat

Q & A: Stubby Clapp

Politics Beat Blog

Sen. Kyle Offers Bill to Allow Statue Removal

Intermission Impossible

2017 Ostranders — Picks, Pans and WHO GOT ROBBED!?!?

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Toby Sells

Readers also liked…

  • Novel Opening in Booksellers Space

    • May 9, 2017
  • Memphis' "Summer of Fear"

    Thirty-seven years ago this week, Memphis became a city in fear. In the late summer of 1969, a cold-blooded killer stalked the streets, and over a period of 28 days, police made one grisly discovery after another. In the end, the slayer was captured after a wild chase by a posse of ordinary citizens. After his arrest, George Howard Putt told reporters, “I’d do it all again.” The murder spree began on the afternoon of August 14, 1969 ...
    • Mar 16, 2016
  • Frances Dancy Hooks Has Died at Age 88

    • Jan 14, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation