MEMPHIS, TN — The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators will hold meetings with Memphis City Council members as well as area press to rally support in favor of marijuana decriminalization.
“We have made criminal justice reform a caucus priority and this is a perfect example of the kind of issue that needs to be discussed," Black Caucus Chairwoman Brenda Gilmore said. “Statistics have shown that the impact of these low level drug offenses hits harder on poor and minority communities, saddling many with crippling criminal records and lessening their chances of employment, housing and other areas of life.”
The black caucus, along with Councilman Berlin Boyd, will hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20 in the Hall of Mayors at Memphis City Hall to advocate for decriminalization. The day's agenda also includes meetings with the Commercial Appeal editorial board, individual meetings with the Memphis City Council members and a morning appearance on WREG's Live @ 9. The full council meets that afternoon at 3:30 p.m. with a second reading and vote expected on the consent calendar.
"Of all the challenges our communities face, whether someone possesses a small amount of marijuana should not be a life-altering offense," Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris said.
"At a time when more and more states are allowing medicinal and recreational use, we can no longer in good conscience lock people up and charge them fines they can never afford to pay," state Rep. Johnnie Turner said.