Fayetteville: $125 fine, no jail for pot under 1 ounce

2
7639

Fayetteville’s new no-jail marijuana ordinance was adopted by unanimous vote at the Nov. 5 meeting of the Fayetteville City Council. The ordinance was designed to eliminate jail time and restructure fines, and is the most comprehensive in Georgia for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

The new marijuana ordinance is designed to restructure fines and eliminate jail time for possession of less than an ounce, and comes with the requirement for attendance in a substance abuse program for those under age 21.

“Our goal is to reduce the amount of people that are incarcerated for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana, thus reducing the stigma of having this type of conviction on an individual’s record. This is one of the agenda items we discussed at the council retreat this year as a goal and objective for the city and the police department,” Fayetteville Police Chief Scott Gray said at the Oct. 13 meeting and in an Aug. 4 letter.

The aim of the ordinance is to have possession of less than an ounce listed as a city ordinance violation.

Divided into three sections based on age, the ordinance specifies:

• Minor: Under the age of 18 — First offense: $125 fine, court date required with a parent or legal guardian present and requirement to attend a city-approved 8-hour substance abuse prevention/intervention program to be provided by an organization within Fayette County.

In addition to this program, each individual will receive an assessment to determine if they meet any of the criteria for a cannabis use disorder. Those individuals who do meet such criteria would receive a voluntary referral to a state-certified substance use disorder treatment program.

Second and third offenses within 365 days of original offense — 2nd fine of $250, 3rd offense of $500; on the 2nd and 3rd offenses, $150 will be reduced upon successful completion of a substance abuse program or class with an organization within Fayette County.

Additional offenses during the 365-day period will result in a $500 fine, non-refundable.

• Adult: Under the age of 21 — First offense: $125 fine, court date required and requirement to attend a city-approved 8-hour substance abuse prevention/intervention program to be provided by an organization within Fayette County.

In addition to this program, each individual will receive an assessment to determine if they meet any of the criteria for a cannabis use disorder. Those individuals who do meet such criteria would receive a voluntary referral to a state-certified substance use disorder treatment program.

Second and third offenses within 365 days of original offense — 2nd offense fine of $250, 3rd offense of $500; on the 2nd and 3rd offenses, $150 will be reduced upon successful completion of a substance abuse program or class with an organization within Fayette County.

Additional offenses during the 365-day period will result in $500 fine, non-refundable.

• Adult: Age 21 or older – First offense: $125 fine, no court date required. Second and third offenses within 365 days of the original offense — 2nd offense fine of $250, 3rd offense fine of $500; on the 2nd and 3rd offenses, $150 will be reduced upon successful completion of a court-approved substance abuse program or class provided by an organization within Fayette County.

In addition to this program, each individual will receive an assessment to determine if they meet any of the criteria for a cannabis use disorder. Those individuals who do meet such criteria would receive a voluntary referral to a state-certified substance use disorder treatment program.

Additional offenses during the 365-day period will result in a $500 fine, non-refundable.

Any defendant that does not want to go through the program will have their case bound over to the appropriate court of jurisdiction.

There are 11 cities in Georgia with an ordinance pertaining to possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Of those, Fayetteville’s is the most comprehensive in terms of required court dates with parents attending for those under age 18, the provision of substance abuse prevention programs for all age groups, online and clinical assessments and treatment referrals.

Except for Chamblee, which requires parents to attend court for those under age 18 and a voluntary substance abuse prevention program for the both age groups, nearly all the other cities address only reduced fines.

2 COMMENTS