More Municipalities Embrace Marijuana Decriminalization

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 17, 2016

    fifty_dollar_fineLocal legislators in New Orleans, Louisiana and Tampa, Florida voted today in favor of municipal ordinances to halt minor marijuana possession arrests within city limits.

    Members of the New Orleans city council voted 7 to zero in favor of legislation permitting police to cite rather than arrest minor marijuana offenders (defined as those who possess 14 grams or less), including repeat offenders. First-time violators are subject to a $40 fine while subsequent offenders may face fines of up to $100. Under state law, first-time possession offenders are subject to arrest and criminal prosecution (punishable by up to 15 days in jail) while repeat offenders face up to eight years in prison.

    Members of the Tampa city council voted 5 to 1 to amend local laws so that the possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis within city limits is a non-arrestable, fine-only offense. First-time offenders face a $75 fine, while multiple offenders could face fines up to $450. By contrast, Florida law defines similar possession offenses as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

    Tampa’s pending law is similar to those recently enacted in a number of Florida counties, including Miami-Dade, West Palm Beach, and Volusia, as well as in several other metropolitan areas, such as Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

    8 Responses to “More Municipalities Embrace Marijuana Decriminalization”

    1. Fireweed says:

      all steps in the right direction although they still define cannabis consumption as wrong. The only thing this does is perhaps send a message about local views about marijuana, but overall it still defines even responsible marijuana use as wrong. Nothing but full legalization and regulation will suffice to score as a victory.

    2. Kiwi says:

      You mentioned that current Florida law “…defines similar possession offenses as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine”
      It is worth mentioning that Florida law also demands a 1 year suspension of Drivers License – regardless of whether a motor vehicle was involved at the time of arrest.

      • Anonymous says:

        I lived in florida 20 years seen plenty of people arrested for bud and yes they are very strict (some counties a seed or a hair is a felony) but it’s not automatic to have your license stripped that all depends case to case (and depends how much they want to screw you over

    3. Gulf Coadt Matt says:

      Why are legislators going kicking and screaming about legalization of marijuana by consenting adults- gov Malloy of Cash strapped Connecticut says no way Evan when most people are for it and it would help in the budget deficept. How shallow are theses elected people.

    4. Julian says:

      Finally, some real jazz roots will grow back in New Orleans!
      I can’t wait to stop for lunch between Florida and Texas.
      Legalize jazz club$!

    5. TheOracle says:

      This article has me asking myself which city will have Amsterdam-style coffeeshops first in the US?

      LA, Vegas, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Cincinnati, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Miami, and so on. DC in there somewhere.


      [Paul Armentano responds: Hopefully Denver: http://norml.org/news/2016/03/03/colorado-denver-norml-files-ballot-measure-to-permit-marijuana-social-clubs.

    6. Mark I. says:

      Normlization nationwide shall release the demons of prohibition. Stand up and be counted amongst the closeted enlightened that are fed up.

    7. Lee says:

      This is good news but not enough. A step in the right direction but many miles to go. I am glad that websites and organizations such as NORML exist. If only people would educate themselves. Ignorance will no longer suffice.

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