In the past, support for any type of cannabis reform from Tennessee has been very slim, but now, it looks as though things may be changing. Some city council members in Nashville have decided to take the lead on the problem by launching a modest initiative with the goal of getting rid of the criminal penalties connected to minor cannabis possession. On Tuesday, the council decided to put its seal of approval on a bill that would make possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana punishable by a $50 fine instead of being incarcerated.

The initiative, which was introduced by Metro Councilman Dave Rosenberg and two others, also includes a secondary option that is going to allow the offender to perform ten hours of community service if they cannot or opt not to pay the $50. The goal of the measure is to stop people from having their lives ruined by a criminal record for having a plant that is now legal in more than fifty percent of the country, while also concentrating police resources on more important issues.

“A criminal record for a simple mistake is something that follows people around for a long time, and makes it more difficult for them to get a job, earn a living and go about their lives,” Rosenberg said in an interview.

Although reports indicate that it is not rare for a proposed initiative to be passed through Nashville’s legislatures after a first read, it is encouraged that anything having to do with cannabis laws sees majority approval. However, that does not mean that there has been no objection when it comes to the measure. There are four council members that voted against the measure last night because of worries that the city has not involved the Metro Nashville Police Department in the decision.

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