Mayor Luttrell opens up about de-annexation, marijuana ordinance

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell didn't mince words when it comes to some of the issues.

"I am opposed to it Alex," when asked about a proposed marijuana ordinance soon to be debated by the Shelby County Commission.

Commissioner Van Turner wants to introduce an ordinance similar to the one passed recently in Memphis that reduces the severity of carrying a small amount of marijuana and with fines of $50.

"I think it's a gateway drug and we do not need to embrace this. I think Police Director Michael Rallings has taken a position that I agree with. It's an issue we don't need to be dealing with as it relates to gateway crimes."

Another issues that could take center stage again is a plan to de-annex several Memphis neighborhoods.

The Memphis Strategic Footprint Review Task Force will be holding public hearings on de-annexation and the state will likely weigh in again on the issue.

"I think you can expect the General Assembly to take it up in January," said Mayor Luttrell. "We are going to be in support of the City of Memphis to work this out because it will have a profound impact on Memphis depending on how it goes and I think Mayor Strickland is trying to work through this and we're supportive of it."

He also said he's still standing behind a plan to create a fire department based ambulance service after its current contractor, American Medical Response, said it needed more money or it would exit its contract.

"I think we have some solid number that we can do it as efficiently, if not better than what they have proposed with the $4.5 million figure. What's interesting Alex they originally bid this process, they did it for $1.7 million and two years into the 5-year contract they say 'Oops, we need more: $4.5 million."