Florida: Largest County Depenalizes Marijuana Possession Offenses

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 2, 2015

    Police in Florida’s largest county will soon have the option to cite, rather than arrest, minor marijuana offenders.

    Commissioners for Miami-Dade county voted 10 to 3 this week in favor of a countywide ordinance to treat marijuana possession offenses involving 20 grams or less as a civil infraction, punishable by a $100 fine — no arrest, no criminal prosecution, no incarceration, and no criminal record. The new ordinance takes effect late next week.

    Under state law, minor marijuana possession offenses are classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. According to an analysis by the ACLU, an estimated 60,000 Floridians are arrested for cannabis possession violations annually — the third highest statewide total in the nation.

    According to a countywide analysis by CBS, misdemeanor marijuana arrests accounted for 10 percent of all cases filed in the Miami-Dade criminal court system between the years 2010 and 2014. While African Americans comprise just 20 percent of the county’s population, they comprised over half of all of those arrested for marijuana possession offenses.

    Senior county officials have not yet provided details in regard to how police will implement the new law or what criteria they will use to determine whether to issue a citation or make an arrest.

    Several metropolitan areas, such as Milwaukee and Philadelphia, have previously decriminalized marijuana possession offenses citywide.

    38 responses to “Florida: Largest County Depenalizes Marijuana Possession Offenses”

    1. Miles says:

      Geez… When the hell is Virginia going to do something like decriminalize or legalize?

      Oh yeah, when we get rid of the Republicans that keep stopping that kind of thing…

      I salute the leaders across this country, and I know that a few of them are Republicans (very few), who have shown compassion and common sense and have acted to end the insanity of prohibition!

    2. glenn says:

      Thank God! Finally!
      I live just north of Miami-Dade, in Palm Beach County, and we are so excited for progress in this great state. Come-on Florida vote to legalize in 2016!!

    3. Me says:

      Way to go Miami-Dade county! Lets hope this catches like fire across the state!

    4. Fat Freddy says:

      Good for Dade County. Hope Broward and Monroe are next. Lots of old people here need medical MJ. And lots of young people can still have their lives ruined by regressive MJ laws. Too bad such a beautiful state as Florida is still ruled by troglodytes.

    5. ben says:

      Thank god 1 step closer

    6. Cabana Boy says:

      So the police have the option to arrest you for 20 grams or less? Why are they given an option? Set the amount for the offense, and let be that.

      Baby steps my fellow Floridiots, baby steps.

    7. Dave Evans says:

      Thank-you Dade County! I am so happy to see some Floridians are earning back my respect!

    8. Julian says:

      Even in one of the most gerrymandered, corrupt, disproportionately incarcerated, ambiguous electronic voting, Jeb Bush State governments where every elected official owns a piss testing clinic…
      prohibition STILL cant stop legalization.


    9. Evening Bud says:

      Florida enters the 21st Century kicking and screaming.

    10. Don E. says:

      We applaud as progress a mere $100 fine for choosing to use the least harmful substance. It may be progress, but it’s still insane.