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City Council to discuss marijuana, Mid-South Coliseum this week

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It seems the air is anything but clear when it comes to the debate over whether to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in Memphis.

Recently, City Council member Berlin Boyd proposed the ordinance that would allow police officers to issue a misdemeanor citation for possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana.

The citation would come with a fine of up to $50.

"The one thing that we can do is take away and reduce the penalty as far as putting black eyes on people's life," said Boyd.

Las week, Boyd amended the ordinance to allow city courts to order 10 hours of community service per violation and up to 40 hours instead of charging fines.

City Council members Janice Fullilove and Frank Colvett appeared on Live at 9 Monday morning.

"For Berlin Boyd to sit up and make a statement that the reason he's proposing this is because one guy can't get a job because he had marijuana in his system, DUH! Wake up because if we open the floodgates, we are going to have so many other people with marijuana in their system they will never find a job," said Fullilove.

"I think we are sending a sign to our children that it's not a big deal," said Colvett. "It's a big deal when you pop a drug screen and all of a sudden you lose your job and lose income."

Council members will also study a plan that would ban panhandling between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. and within 25 feet of intersections with traffic lights, construction zones or bridges.

"Panhandlers are getting a little more aggressive out on the streets. I'm concerned about their safety, and I think we all are," said Colvett.

"Right now police are not enforcing the one that's on the books now, and it could be because of our crime problem here in the city. It's good to take a good look at it."

The City Council will also take a look at proposed plans for the old Mid-South Coliseum.

One is to turn the Coliseum into a small events venue, and another would have it anchored by Wiseacre Brewing.

"Name the last time in Memphis we had several good ideas for the Mid-South Coliseum. I think Wiseacre so far is the best. It cost no taxpayer money. I think the burden is on them," said Colvett.

"The plan he laid out sounded doggone good, and it wasn't going to cost the taxpayers a dime. They were going to do all the renovations, all of the surveys, all of the studies from making it ADA compliant to other areas," said Fullilove.