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Athens Mayor High On Marijuana Decriminalization

Small quantities of marijuana shouldn't ruin a person's life, mayor says.

Mayor Nancy Denson. (Patch file photo.)
Mayor Nancy Denson. (Patch file photo.)

Tim Denson isn't the only candidate for mayor who wants small amounts of marijuana decriminalized. At a debate Wednesday night at the University of Georgia campus, Mayor Nancy Denson said she, too, would like to see the pot laws relaxed.

Mayor Denson announced her position for the first time Wednesday night at a debate on the University of Georgia campus, according to The Athens Herald-Banner.

She told dozens of students and Athens residents: "I'd like to see small amounts of marijuana decriminalized," the paper reported. The mayor also said that being caught with a small amount of pot for personal use shouldn't "create a criminal record that follows someone for the rest of their life."

The mayor's opponent, local activist Tim Denson, who is no relation, has been running on a platform that includes legalizing possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. They will face off in the nonpartisan election May 20.

On Thursday, she released a statement saying she would do nothing to change pot laws at the county level. Her statement:

For years, I have spoken privately about decriminalizing possession of small amounts (less than one ounce) of marijuana and last night, in response to a question on this issue, responded that I would support such efforts.

Though supporting legislation at the state or national level to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, I do not plan to take any action at the county level.

While I do not support legalizing marijuana, I find it unconscionable that we ruin the lives of young people by creating criminal records for possession of small amounts of marijuana that follow them for the rest of their lives. 

I absolutely encourage legalizing the use of medical marijuana to provide help for those suffering and hope that the state House and Senate can find a compromise on this issue before the end of the legislative session.


Bob March 20, 2014 at 09:08 PM
It's a start. I wonder, after she said this, if she went home and had a glass of wine and a cigarette which are wonderfully legal.
alan March 21, 2014 at 08:38 AM
Mayor Denson's position and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee. It won't get anything done.
Brian Kelly B Bizzle March 21, 2014 at 09:30 AM
Don't be fooled by "decriminalization" because citizens are still going to be treated like common criminals for marijuana. This is what Kevin Sabet wants. Citizens will STILL be forced to the dangerous black market and a shady illegal street drug dealer to purchase their marijuana. Getting caught buying it is STILL a crime they will arrest and jail you for. Then, they will also FORCE you to mandatory rehab, and if you don't comply, guess what? JAILTIME! No thanks! Also, we will still be wasting our tax dollars sending police around to ticket marijuana users and wasting police manpower and resources. Instead of allowing our police the time, manpower and resources to protect us all from real, dangerous criminals who actually commit crimes with victims and pose a real threat to society. Why else do you think they are so EAGER to "decriminalize", instead of LEGALIZE? Don't Let'em Fool You!!! DEMAND FULL MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION NATIONWIDE!
Brion Eduardo March 21, 2014 at 02:17 PM
The use of puns really detracts from Patch.com's credibility in covering this very serious issue.

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