ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's police chief says a new ordinance eliminating jail time and reducing penalties for having small amounts of marijuana will allow her officers to focus on eliminating violent crimes instead of petty ones.

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields tells WSB-TV that marijuana remains illegal in Georgia, and that the ordinance addressed only the penalties associated with marijuana offenses.

The Atlanta City Council on Monday approved the ordinance that reduces the fine for possession of an ounce or less of pot from up to $1,000 to a maximum of $75.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta's move comes as cities and states across the nation have either reduced penalties for possession of small amounts of the drug or made it legal.

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