SAVANNAH, GA (June 20, 2018) – Savannah Police officers have begun training in preparation for the new City of Savannah marijuana ordinance that goes into effect July 1.

All SPD officers are required to complete training that provides an in-depth look at the new ordinance. Classes, which are being taught by SPD instructors, began at the SPD Training Center June 19 and will continue through June 21.

“We want all of our officers to have a clear understanding of this new ordinance,” said Capt. Alex Tobar, who presides over the training center. “This gives officers an opportunity to ask questions about all the different scenarios they might run into in their day-to-day work and how those situations should be handled. The training identifies how the ordinance allows for officers to exercise discretion in each case with a non-bias based application.”

The ordinance was approved by City Council in March.

It states that a person convicted of a violation of simple marijuana possession be punished by a fine not to exceed $150 and shall not be punished by imprisonment. Simple marijuana possession is defined as possession of less than 1 oz.

The intention of the new ordinance is to prevent young people from entering the criminal justice system and avoid the enduring stigma associated with the charge. It also eliminates costs by reducing the amount of time officers spend in connection with the arrest, processing and transportation of those accused of simple marijuana possession.

The ordinance affects only the city limits of Savannah and has no bearing in unincorporated Chatham County.