Marijuana advocates applaud proposed Metro ordinance

Metro Council hears support for proposed marijuana ordinance

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Softening Louisville’s stance on marijuana enforcement was a topic of discussion for visitors at City Hall on Thursday, as members of the Metro Council introduced an ordinance that would make pot one of the lowest priorities for police.

Several supporters of the proposed ordinance spoke at Metro Council. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Several supporters of the proposed ordinance spoke at Metro Council. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Possession would still be a crime, but supporters argue the change would lessen the workload for officers and save the city money.

The ordinance states that a growing number of other cities have already decriminalized marijuana.

"Others cried in bliss and in one loud voice they said, we love you cannabis," read a man signed up to speak at the meeting.

That poem was among the showing of support for a proposed Metro Council ordnance introduced Thursday.

"This city council has an opportunity to send a clear message to Frankfort, the people of Kentucky, the people of Louisville and the rest of our great nation," Billy Hower, a man speaking in support of the ordinance, said.

Marijuana advocates praised four councilmembers for bringing forward rules that would make a policy statement toward cannabis.

Councilwomen Cindi Fowler, Jessica Green and Barbara Sexton Smith were joined by Councilman Brandon Coan to sponsor the ordinance. They are all Democrats.

The ordinance would label a small amount of marijuana intended for personal use as the Metro's lowest law enforcement priority.

“We have four members who have co-sponsored this, which was a surprise,” marijuana advocate Dan Seum Jr. said.

The ordinance would be more of a statement of policy, not superseding state or federal law.

It wouldn't apply to the distribution or sale of marijuana, DUI, drug violence or possession by someone under the age of 21.

But those who said they’ve been pushing to get it passed for a year now think it will help people from getting a costly criminal record, lower the volume of people in court and save the city money at a time when Metro Government faces deep budget cuts.

"It's going to use our law enforcement resources for bad or worse crimes than cannabis possession," Seum said.

The ordinance’s introduction Thursday was just the first step of many. It would have to be debated and approved at different levels of Metro Council before it comes up for a vote.

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