Many 'unknowns' concerning Atlanta's new marijuana law - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Many 'unknowns' concerning Atlanta's new marijuana law

Criminal Law Professor and Author J Tom Morgan said there are many 'unknowns" with new City of Atlanta municipal ordinance. (Source: J Tom Morgan) Criminal Law Professor and Author J Tom Morgan said there are many 'unknowns" with new City of Atlanta municipal ordinance. (Source: J Tom Morgan)
People caught with less than an ounce of weed will get a fine, not jail time, within Atlanta city limits. (Source: Raycom) People caught with less than an ounce of weed will get a fine, not jail time, within Atlanta city limits. (Source: Raycom)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

As a brand new marijuana ordinance takes effect in our state's capital city, reducing the possession penalty to a small fine and no jail time within city limits, legal experts warn there are many gray areas.

One of the state's leading experts on criminal law and youth, J Tom Morgan, said marijuana is the "drug of choice for the millennial generation."

"And, it is very frustrating that I have seen kids whose lives have been ruined, their futures railroaded, because of a conviction for less than an ounce of marijuana," said Morgan, an Albany native who is the former Dekalb County District Attorney and now teaches criminal law at Western North Carolina University.

The author of 'Ignorance is No Defense, a Teenager's Guide to Georgia Law', Morgan said the new Atlanta marijuana ordinance itself is clear.

"It decriminalized the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a $75 fine, no criminal conviction, no jail time, no community service, so, it is even less than a speeding ticket," said Morgan.

What's not clear is what happens when a law enforcement officer other than a City of Atlanta cop finds a person carrying less than an ounce of weed.

"It certainly wouldn't be fair if a state trooper sends you to State Court and you have a criminal conviction and the City of Atlanta police officer sends you to City of Atlanta Court, and you don't have a criminal conviction. There are a lot of unknowns," said Morgan.

Another unknown is what happens when a person is found with pot on a college campus.

"You have to understand that campus police at schools like Georgia Tech and Georgia State, they work for the State of Georgia, not the City of Atlanta. In the City of Atlanta, you do have a lot of state officials, police officers, in addition to the City of Atlanta police. How those state officers are going to treat those cases are yet to be determined," said Morgan.

Morgan said even with the new municipal ordinance, the City of Atlanta police still has the discretion to arrest an individual on a state charge.

Morgan also said "an individual caught carrying less than an ounce of marijuana, cannot have other charges, for example, obstruction of justice. So, a teenager cannot run from police and not expect to be taken into custody."

It is illegal to smoke marijuana and operate a vehicle. People will be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

Keep up with WALB on the go! 
Follow us on social  
   and download our apps!

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • American Legion Post 30 begins renovations after receiving grant

    American Legion Post 30 begins renovations after receiving grant

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 10:22 PM EDT2018-06-21 02:22:35 GMT
    Home Depot gave a $5,400 grant to American Legion Post 30. (Source: WALB)Home Depot gave a $5,400 grant to American Legion Post 30. (Source: WALB)
    Home Depot gave a &5,400 grant to American Legion. (Source: WALB)Home Depot gave a &5,400 grant to American Legion. (Source: WALB)

    The renovation project for the American Legion Post 30 began on Wednesday.

    More >>

    The renovation project for the American Legion Post 30 began on Wednesday.

    More >>
  • Soaring temperatures increases risk of child hot car deaths

    Soaring temperatures increases risk of child hot car deaths

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 10:11 PM EDT2018-06-21 02:11:11 GMT
    Officials warn parents not to leave children in the car. (Source: WALB)Officials warn parents not to leave children in the car. (Source: WALB)
    Officials warn parents not to leave children in the car. (Source: WALB)Officials warn parents not to leave children in the car. (Source: WALB)

    Officials are warning parents to be extremely cautious of their children as the temperatures rise. This warning comes after the first hot car death in Georgia on Tuesday when a 7-month old baby died after being left in a car in Kingsland.

    More >>

    Officials are warning parents to be extremely cautious of their children as the temperatures rise. This warning comes after the first hot car death in Georgia on Tuesday when a 7-month old baby died after being left in a car in Kingsland.

    More >>
  • Lowndes Co. lawyers raise money for food insecurity

    Lowndes Co. lawyers raise money for food insecurity

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 9:58 PM EDT2018-06-21 01:58:36 GMT
    The Coleman Talley Law Firm in Valdosta won the Grand Prize Bar President's Award. (Source: WALB)The Coleman Talley Law Firm in Valdosta won the Grand Prize Bar President's Award. (Source: WALB)
    The Coleman Talley Law Firm in Valdosta won the Grand Prize Bar President's Award. (Source: WALB)The Coleman Talley Law Firm in Valdosta won the Grand Prize Bar President's Award. (Source: WALB)

    South Georgia lawyers have broken a new record in raising money and awareness for people who do not know where their next meal is coming from.

    More >>

    South Georgia lawyers have broken a new record in raising money and awareness for people who do not know where their next meal is coming from.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly