Advocates pushing Atlanta to eliminate jail time for smoking pot

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Advocates pushing Atlanta to eliminate jail time for smoking pot

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Cannabis plant (stock photo)

Smoking pot in Atlanta soon may not carry the fines or jail time that it had in the past.

The Atlanta City Council will consider legislation at its April meeting to lower fines for marijuana possession to $75 and eliminate any jail time. Currently people caught smoking pot must pay of fine up to $1,000 and can receive jail time up to six months.

The move is being pushed by advocates hoping to reform laws around the drug. They say the move is necessary to address racial disparities in arrests for marijuana use.

Between 2014 and 2016, 92 percent of those arrested in Atlanta for possession were African American and 85 percent were male, according to the Racial Justice Action Center. An American Civil Liberties Union analysis of marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010 found blacks were 3.73 times more likely to be arrested nationally for possession of the drug than whites.

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