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Letter to Metro Council On Decriminalizing Marijuana

Published: Monday, August 15th, 2016
Written by: Amanda Gentry


Here is my letter I emailed all of them today.

“I am a local criminal defense and family law attorney that practices in Davidson and all the surrounding counties. I am planning on attending the meeting tomorrow and hope to have the opportunity to introduce myself in person.

I am a board member of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. I have been actively following the State legislation and regularly testify for TACDL in front of the Criminal Justice and Senate Judiciary Committee –

Not sure what your stance is on the decriminalizing marijuana that has been making the internet rounds. And that’s why I am writing. A couple of points.

  1. I am very much in favor of this from the Criminal Defense side.
  2. Davidson county pretty much already does this from the District Attorney’s side. The DA’s position on petty amounts and simple possession of marijuana is this:You receive a citation for a court date. Once you book into the booking room in the court house – the “simple possession docket” is the same as the driver’s license docket. The state offers the clients an “under advisement plea” to take a 4 or 8 hour drug awareness class and receive a certificate. They typically give the offender 60 days to take the class and return to court with the certificate of completion. Once they do that, the State dismisses the case at no costs to the offender. Davidson County is already very progressive in this area. Surrounding counties, Sumner, Wilson, Williamson, Rutherford take a much stronger, maximum penalty approach. For offenders in those counties, the state offers an 11/29 Supervised probation with $250 minimum fine and court costs (that typically will end up $800-$1100) with regular and random drugs screens.

I realize the Council may get some backlash from the media on this, but I just wanted you to know that the Criminal Defense Bar and the DA’s office are already on board with this. Here’s hoping the diverse council will support that.

Thank you for your time and look forward to meeting you soon”

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