Councilman inspired by jailed college student to try to decrimin - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Councilman inspired by jailed college student to try to decriminalize marijuana

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A Jackson Councilman is leading the effort to change the penalties associated with marijuana possession. Councilman DeKeither Stamps wants to amend Chapter 86 Article III of the City of Jackson Code of Ordinance.

He talked about why and who influenced him before Monday's public meeting on marijuana decriminalization.

"This is the fulfillment of a promise made to a young man in jail," said Stamps while inside Council Chambers at Jackson City Hall.

The Ward 4 Councilman is passionate about the decriminalization of marijuana because of a chance encounter with a jailed college student.

Stamps said he was arrested in 2012 after getting a traffic ticket and exchanging words with the officer who charged him with disorderly conduct.

While in the Jackson cell he began the mission to run for office and change marijuana laws in the city.

"A young man walked in and the first question he asked me was why are you here? I told him. He was like that's nothing. I'm here because I was smoking a blunt waiting at the bus stop for Hinds Junior College and now I'm gonna lose my job, and I'm gonna be in jail and can't go back to school," said Stamps.

He is holding a public meeting on his ordinance to amend the Jackson Code to limit the maximum penalty for possession of an ounce or 30 grams or less to a $100.00 fine, with no prison time. 

According to the Ward 4 representative, estimates indicate that 15% of Mississippi's prison population is jailed for user-level amounts of marijuana at a cost of $72 million dollars.

"This is trying to change the tide of our young people and all people really because user level amount of marijuana, you shouldn't be going to the prison system," added the councilman.

Stamps has set up a Facebook page on decriminalizing marijuana, including a poll asking who supports it. As of Monday, the unofficial poll has 91% in favor and nine % opposed.

RELATED STORY: Jackson councilman pushing to decriminalize marijuana use

The council will vote on the Ordinance at the February 13 council meeting.

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