Nashvegas was a nickname given to the city that draws parallels the Vegas glitz, glam and now it appears they are following in the footsteps of Vegas in the way they view cannabis.
The City of Nashville made an important move today in the heart of the bible belt. For those of you who have visited Nashville, TN you know that the people in the city sometimes call it Nashvegas. Nashvegas was a nickname given to the city that draws parallels the Vegas glitz, glam and now it appears they are following in the footsteps of Vegas in the way they view cannabis. Decriminalizing marijuana is the first step towards marijuana reform. Let’s hope that they continue progress and stop jailing people for medicating.
Nashville’s Metro Council made history Tuesday by approving the city’s first measure to allow lesser civil penalties for people caught with small amounts of marijuana, but it may set the stage for a confrontation with the state.
Meanwhile, some Nashville judges are now raising concerns that moving minor marijuana possession cases from criminal to civil court may give people fewer options to later erase those encounters from the public record.
The council voted 35-3 to give final approval of legislation that will give Nashville police the option of reducing the penalty for people who are found in knowing possession of a half-ounce of marijuana or less to a $50 fine or 10 hours of community service.
Memphis is scheduled to take up a similar ordinance in two weeks.
Nashville’s pot legislation now heads to the desk of Mayor Megan Barry, who told The Tennessean this week she would sign the measure into law.
“This legislation is a positive step forward in addressing the overly punitive treatment of marijuana possession in our state that disproportionately impacts low-income and minority residents,” Barry said in a statement after the council’s vote.
“It is important to stress that this ordinance is not a license to sell, possess or use marijuana in Nashville,” she said. “When this ordinance becomes law, police officers will still have the ability to make arrests or issue state criminal citations for marijuana possession as circumstances warrant, which is a Class A misdemeanor under state law.”
Supporters of Nashville’s marijuana legislation have argued the ordinance would work within the confines of state law. They’ve likened the measure to Metro’s laws for litter and seat belts, both of which have penalties that are not as severe as those outlined in state law.