NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Council members in Nashville have approved an ordinance that allows police to reduce the penalty for people who possess a small amount of marijuana.

The Tennessean reports ( that the Nashville Metropolitan Council voted 35 to 3 in favor of the ordinance on Tuesday night.

The ordinance says a police officer who encounters someone in possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana has the option of issuing a civil citation for a $50 fine or community service, rather than arresting the individual.

Such a penalty is in contrast to Tennessee law, which calls for people caught with a half-ounce of marijuana or less to face a misdemeanor criminal charge punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

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