Prosecutor: Georgia city has no authority to decriminalize marijuana

Mayor Ted Terry may want to make Clarkston the first Georgia city to decriminalize marijuana, but one of the state’s leading law enforcement advocates had a blunt message about the effort: No way.

“The only thing I can say about that is no municipal government has the authority to decriminalize anything that the Georgia General Assembly and federal government still say is a crime,” said Chuck Spahos, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.

“State law and federal law will still apply to the citizens within the municipality” even if Clarkston enacts the proposal, said Spahos, who is also solicitor general in Henry County.

Terry said Thursday that the City Council’s public safety committee will review whether to make possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana a ticket-only offense, putting it on the same level as a run-of-the-mill traffic violation. He expects the full council to bring it to a vote as early as May.

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