Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance bottoms is ordering that records of minor marijuana possession charges be restricted from employers’ background checks and other “public view.”

Her administrative order, issued Dec. 16, includes offenses of possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana. It also covers offenses under a law repealed 12 years ago that criminalized being in the area of illegal drug sales with the intent to use them.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

The order calls for restricting the records of such offenses to only “law enforcement for criminal justice purposes,” according to a city press release.

“The fact remains that communities of color are disproportionately affected by the lingering stigma of victimless, minor offenses — even long after the accused have paid their debts,” said Bottoms in the press release. “This outmoded practice deprives our communities and workforce of brilliant and promising minds, all because of an unfair justice system that can and will be course-corrected.”

The order calls for a process for restricting the offenses to be in place by Feb. 1. The officials directed to coordinate the plan include the chief operating office, the city attorney, the city solicitor and the chief judge of the Municipal Court of Atlanta.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.