Pubdate: Sat, 22 Mar 2014
Source: Athens Banner-Herald (GA)
Copyright: 2014 Athens Newspapers Inc


Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson, who made headlines earlier 
this week by saying she supported decriminalization of possession and 
use of small quantities of marijuana, has issued a statement to 
clarify her position.

During a Wednesday debate with local activist Tim Denson - no 
relation - who is challenging Mayor Denson in the upcoming May 20 
nonpartisan mayoral election, the mayor revealed publicly for the 
first time her stance on decriminalization of marijuana, noting that 
possession of small quantities for personal shouldn't create a 
criminal record that follows someone for the rest of their life.

In a statement released through her mayoral campaign Thursday, Denson 
said, "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."

Mayor Denson released her statement prior to the Georgia General 
Assembly failing to come to agreement on medical marijuana 
legislation before adjournment Thursday, but noted in the statement 
that she would "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."

Currently under state law, possession of less than an ounce of 
marijuana is a misdemeanor.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom