Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an administrative order Monday that will restrict public access to court records of people convicted of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.
What We Know:
- Bottoms also wants public access restricted to records for people convicted of disorderly conduct under a section of the city’s code of ordinances that was repealed in 2007. The order directs the city’s chief operating officer to coordinate with the city attorney, the city solicitor and the chief judge of the municipal court to “establish and promulgate the process” by Feb. 1 that will “restrict the records of these offenses from public view. Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between the expungement of marijuana records and an increase in wages, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.
“The fact remains that communities of color are disproportionately affected by the lingering stigma of victimless, minor offenses — even long after the accused have paid their debts,” Bottoms said in a prepared statement. “This outmoded practice deprives our communities and workforce of brilliant and promising minds, all because of an unfair justice system that can and will be course-corrected.”
- The mayor’s action takes place in the wake of the city decreasing penalties associated with possession of less than an ounce of pot, essentially making it more akin to a speeding ticket.
- Gwinnett, one of the metro-Atlanta’s largest and fastest growing minority counties announced in October that it would no longer prosecute marijuana cases until it could attain the proper technology to measure illegal levels.
We hope to see this same energy in other cities across the nation.