COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV)- A South Carolina lawmaker is hoping to decrease the prison population by targeting one of the most common offenses, drug possession.
Rep. Rosalyn Henderson Myers (D) of Spartanburg filed the bill earlier this month that would reduce penalties for possession of marijuana.
If passed it would reduce possession of less than an ounce of marijuana as a civil citation. Right now, South Carolina state law classifies the offense as ”criminal” regardless of the amount.
Henderson said she hopes to give offenders a second chance.
“With that first offense someone gets charged with simple possession of marijuana then it’s an infraction and cannot lead to more charges, which is what I’m hoping for,” said Henderson. “It will allow them to go to college, have a second chance, become a part of our workforce get into public housing because there’s a deterrent for that. “
But, local law enforcement has concerns that the proposal would expand access to a drug, officers are already fighting on the streets.
“They’ve already taken away the penalties where your license was suspended for possession of marijuana.. this is just further eroding that effort to make it ok for everyone to have marijuana I for one am not for that,” said Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller.
The proposal would also require offenders to pay a $100 fine.