Veto or no veto? Confusion surrounding Atlanta marijuana ordinan - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Veto or no veto? Confusion surrounding Atlanta marijuana ordinance

Source: WGCL Source: WGCL
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Confusion surrounded a new ordinance regarding the punishment for marijuana possession in the city of Atlanta early Wednesday morning.

The ordinance lessening the punishment for possession of marijuana to just a $75 fine was supposed to go into effect at midnight but the Atlanta City Council tweeted early Wednesday morning that Mayor Reed had vetoed the bill.

Mayor's office says no

However, Mayor Reed's communications director sent this statement to CBS46 News:

"He didn’t (veto the ordinance). It’s mind boggling to see how irresponsible every station has been this morning. A tweet with no source, no confirmation, nothing and it gets reported as real news."

Reed also took to Twitter to chastise those reponsible for sending out the incorrect information. He blamed it on city council president and mayoral candidate Ceasar Mitchell and called it a political stunt.

Ceasar Mitchell responds

Mitchell talked with CBS46 News about the allegations and says he was not responsible and wouldn't pull a political stunt.

"First of all, I don't engage in political stunts and how stupid and silly and sophomoric would it be to send out a tweet at the time it was sent out it was not true at all because the mayor had signed the legislation," Mitchell told CBS46 News.

City Council backtracks

The Atlanta City Council sent out another tweet, recalling the previous information, saying the mayor didn't veto the legislation on the marijuana ordinance but actually the sale of a portion of the city's land to Hapeville.



City councilman Kwanza Hall introduced the measure back in March and it would have called for reducing the penalty for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a $75 fine and no jail time to be served. Hall said he proposed the legislation because he thinks the law is biased against African-Americans.

"In Atlanta and in Fulton County, 93 percent of the arrests for small amounts of marijuana are the arrests of African-Americans, that is the most biased rate of arrests in the country," councilman Hall told CBS46 News in September. "It's not easy to convince a majority of 8 to 10 people and ideally a majority to agree to do something."

Back in April, Mayor Kasim Reed said he's conflicted about the debate, believing marijuana is a gateway drug but also saying it's a tool to disproportionately impact the poor and people of color.

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