The Music City is seemingly turning into extra 420-friendly. On Wednesday, Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk announced that his workplace will cease prosecuting pot possession offenses for lower than an oz.. The new coverage is efficient instantly.
In an official assertion, the DA’s workplace declared: “Marijuana charges do little to promote public health, and even less to promote public safety.”
Citing specifically how such busts disproportionately have an effect on minority communities, Funk advised an interviewer: “These are people who are not endangering our community, but are saddled with the collateral consequences of a narcotics arrest record. When you combine that with the racial disparities, it becomes clear it needs to end.”
Nashville mayor John Cooper backed the choice, stating, “We need to continue working to ensure that people have access to drug treatment and that we are doing everything we can to keep nonviolent young people out of the criminal justice system.”
The DA’s workplace additionally cited the monetary knowledge of the change, noting how the brand new coverage will “lower prices, as jail housing bills for these instances will now be completely eradicated. Similarly, courts and the clerk’s workplace will see financial savings from docketing fewer instances.”
While Nashville seems to be getting extra in tune with hashish enlightenment, weed continues to be very a lot unlawful in Tennessee. Possession of lower than a half-ounce is a category A misdemeanor. Selling hashish in any quantity from a half-ounce to 10 kilos is a category E felony.
Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson acknowledged Funk’s proper to decide which instances to prosecute, however he additionally made clear that the police can’t simply ignore main legal guidelines signed off by the legislature. In different phrases, cops will nonetheless arrest folks for weed — and it’s left up to their judgement to decide if a circumstance is price arresting and reserving a person. “Nashville police officers continue to be encouraged to use their discretion in carrying out their duties, as guided by MNPD policy,” Anderson mentioned.
The MNPD officers’ guide instructs cops to contemplate the “totality of the circumstances” in every potential possession case. The guide additionally lists options to arrests, reminiscent of referrals to social service businesses.
Funk added that the brand new marijuana coverage is a part of an general constructive pattern, stating, “Police precincts have shifted away from focusing on low level offenses, similar to what we’ve been doing in the DA’s office. Every office has different priorities of where limited resources should be spent. We have a focus on supporting the victims of violent crime.”
Going ahead, Funk mentioned that it’s crucial for many who work in legislation enforcement to take a stand towards felony justice. “It’s incumbent upon all of us to look for ways to make sure the system is fair, and this seems to me a pretty obvious policy change that needed to happen. We all need to be introspective about our policies and procedures.”
While Nashville sill has a protracted path forward of it when it comes to hashish reform, these are promising first steps.