Atlanta City Council will decide on decriminalizing marijuana

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The city of Atlanta took a major step on Tuesday in its bid to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The Public Safety Panel recommended the city replace jail time for minor marijuana possession with a fine. That fine would be about $75.

The decision has been hotly debated over the last few months and is now expected to move to the Atlanta City Council for consideration during their next regular meeting.

Mayor Kasim Reed would also need to sign off any changes to the way Atlanta Police handle marijuana cases in the city.

Supporters of the changes said it would allow law enforcement resources to be better applied towards violent crimes and would also save money at the city jail.

The changes would only apply to Atlanta's municipal code and how Atlanta Police officers handle simple possession cases. State and federal agencies would still have the option to make arrests based on state and federal laws.