City to be­come drug-free zone com­mu­nity

The Covington News - - THE SECOND FRONT - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

Por­terdale will soon be­come the fourth city in the state to be­come a Drug Free Com­mer­cial Zone af­ter the city coun­cil passed a Drug Free Com­mer­cial Zone or­di­nance at its Dec. 3 coun­cil meet­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the new or­di­nance, a Drug Free Com­mer­cial Zone is a com­mer­cial zone or zones within a city or mu­nic­i­pal­ity where there has been a high rate of drug crime. Un­der the or­di­nance, 98 per­cent of the city of Por­terdale is clas­si­fied as a Drug Free Com­mer­cial Zone.

Ac­cord­ing to the new or­di­nance, it will be un­law­ful for any per­son to il­le­gally man­u­fac­ture, dis­trib­ute, dis­pense, or pos­sess with in­tent to dis­trib­ute a con­trolled sub­stance or mar­i­juana in, on, or within any real prop­erty which has been des­ig­nated un­der this code sec­tion as a drugfree com­mer­cial zone.

If any­one vi­o­lates or con­spires to vi­o­late the or­di­nance, the in­di­vid­ual will be found guilty of felon and upon con­vic­tion shall re­ceive upon first con­vic­tion, im­pris­on­ment for not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $20,000, or both; or upon a sec­ond or sub­se­quent con­vic­tion, im­pris­on­ment for not less than five years, nor more than 40 years or a fine of not more than $40,000, or both; and ban­ish­ment from the zone for one year as a con­di­tion of pa­role or pro­ba­tion.

It fur­ther states that any per­son who is charged with pos­ses­sion of mari- juana, which pos­ses­sion is of one ounce or less, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and pun­ished by im­pris­on­ment for a pe­riod not to ex­ceed 12 months or a fine not to ex­ceed $1,000, or both, or pub­lic works not to ex­ceed 12 months.

Penal­ties and pun­ish­ment for the law states any­one in vi­o­la­tion will be guilty of a felony and will face dou­ble fines and prison time.

Mayor Ar­line Chap­man and city man­ager Bob Thom­son said the or­di­nance will now have to be in­tro­duced to the Ge­or­gia Gen­eral As­sem­bly for the or­di­nance can be­come a law. District 113 state Rep. Pam Dick­er­son will in­tro­duce the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion to the gen­eral as­sem­bly at the 2013 leg­isla­tive ses­sion.

Por­terdale will join the cities of At­lanta, So­cial Cir­cle and Col­lege Park, which have all been des­ig­nated as Drug Free Com­mer­cial Zones. Chap­man said she hopes the pro­posed or­di­nance would help keep drugs out of the city.

“I think it will hopefully be a de­ter­rent and raise fines that are levied for peo­ple who are caught with drugs in the com­mu­nity,” Chap­man said. “I think it will work for us.”

Chap­man

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