March 1, 2018
For Immediate Release
Council Approves Marijuana Ordinance
SAVANNAH, GA (March 1, 2018) — The City of Savannah Mayor and Council voted to approve an ordinance that allows Savannah police officers to exercise judgment when citing people for simple marijuana possession.
The ordinance sets that a person convicted of a violation of simple marijuana possession be punished by a fine not to exceed $150.00, and shall not be punished by a term of any imprisonment. Simple marijuana possession is defined as possession of one ounce or less of marijuana.
The ordinance's intention is to enhance public safety and eliminate costs by reducing the amount of time police officers spend in connection with the arrest, processing and transportation of those accused of simple marijuana possession; and to prevent young people from entering the criminal justice system and avoiding the enduring stigma associated therewith.
Previously there was no city ordinance setting punishment for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. It is not the intent of the City Council to legalize or otherwise decriminalize the possession of marijuana. Rather, to exercise local control as authorized by state law.
The ordinance will take effect July 1, 2018.
The ordinance was introduced January 18 by Alderman Van Johnson. Mayor DeLoach was joined by Mayor Pro Tem Bell, Alderman Johnson, Durrence, Hall, Miller, Shabazz and Thomas on passage of the ordinance.