NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville District Attorney’s Office will no longer prosecute for possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana.
“Marijuana charges do little to promote public health, and even less to promote public safety,” District Attorney Glenn Funk said Wednesday in an announcement on the policy change. “Demographic statistics indicate that these charges impact minorities in a disproportionate manner. This policy will eliminate this area of disproportionately in the justice system.”
DA’s office said eliminating minor marijuana charges will lower costs for jail housing, courts and clerk’s offices. The resources used to prosecute these charges will be allocated to supporting victims and prosecuting violent crime.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper said in a statement that he supports the change in policy.
“I support the DA’s decision to stop prosecuting minor marijuana offenses in Davidson County. We need to continue working to ensure that people have access to drug treatment and that we are doing everything we can to keep nonviolent young people out of the criminal justice system,” Mayor Cooper said.
Last fall, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation sent a memo to law enforcement across the state which said testing in marijuana cases will “only be performed on felony amounts of plant material and at the District Attorney’s request if needed for trial.”
While the memo did not decriminalize marijuana, defense attorneys said getting caught with a small amount means there is a better chance you won’t be criminally prosecuted.