Political Notes — Atlanta will downgrade marijuana penalties

[private]The Atlanta City Council voted unanimously Monday to downgrade the penalties a person would face for the offense of simple possession of marijuana — and Mayor Kasim Reed said he would sign the historic measure.

The ordinance changes the penalty for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana from a fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail to a maximum fine of $75 and no jail time.

“Today we stand with every parent of Atlanta who is fearful of or has seen their children’s lives destroyed, or careers ruined because of a racist policy that unjustly incarcerated minorities by more than ninety percent,” said Councilman Kwanza Hall, the ordinance’s sponsor.

“One of the leaders who recognized the unfairness and harshness of the law was Dr. George Napper, who was our city’s first African American chief of police, and I’d like to thank him for his support,” said Hall.

Supporters of the ordinance cited the fact that in Atlanta, the majority of arrests for marijuana-related offenses are African Americans, even though studies have shown usage to be at similar levels across racial lines.

Atlanta now joins Clarkston, a DeKalb County city that voted last year for a similar declassification of marijuana.

Taylor’s out

State Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody), the chairman of the MARTOC committee, says he will not run for a fifth term in the Georgia House next year.

“I’ve had the honor of serving my nation in uniform and my city and state in elected office, and in each of those positions, there comes a time to step aside and let the next leader step up,” Taylor told the Dunwoody Crier.

Taylor was reelected last year despite a well-publicized drunk driving arrest in North Georgia.

His district is situated in a part of DeKalb County that has been trending more and more Democratic with every election cycle.  Democratic lawyer Michael Wilensky already announced in July he would take on Taylor next year.

State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) is also being opposed by Democrat Sally Harrell, a former legislator.

Meanwhile, in the crowded race in State Senate District 6, former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter is endorsing Democratic attorney Jen Jordan.

“I’ve known Jen for more than 15 years,” Carter said. “She’s a whip-smart fighter who has built her career as an attorney seeking justice — successfully —  for those who aren’t powerful, privileged or connected.”

The ultimate Amazon pitch

Stonecrest became an incorporated city less than year ago but it’s already proposing to change the name of a good portion of the municipality if that’s what it takes to attract an Amazon headquarters.

As reported by CBS Atlanta:

City officials in Stonecrest are asking the DeKalb County legislative delegation for permission to create the city of Amazon within a portion of its own limits in hopes of luring the retail giant to town.

The Stonecrest city council adopted the resolution on Monday to create the enclave of Amazon, Ga. as incentive for the Seattle-based company to build its second world headquarters in the newly-incorporated city.

The bid to Amazon would include 345 acres of land off Coffee Road and Lithonia Industrial Boulevard and offers public transit with a planned MARTA line, nearby interstates and close proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which is something that Amazon is seeking.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Amazon headquarters , Atlanta City Council , Jen Jordan , marijuana possession , Stonecrest , Tom Taylor