Florida: Largest County Depenalizes Marijuana Possession Offenses

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 thoughts

  1. 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. 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. 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.

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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.


  7. 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.

  8. Thank you, Florida!

    I guess they don’t want to be locking up the old folks and having to pay for their medical bills in prison. That’s what is coming down the road if they don’t legalize.

    I just read a Dear Abby in which a young woman wants her parents to meet her fiancé’s parents before he formerly proposes to her. Problem is his parents are conservative small business owners, and her parents are California hippie swingers. What I take great umbrage with is that Dear Abby responded that if the young lady talks to her parents and coaches them about how to interact with his parents that it will all be wasted if they show up wasted/stoned. That implies that the parents will be traveling under the influence. It’s doubtful they’ll be taking public transit or a taxi. See, this is the kind of shit that pisses me off. Dear Abby has this generalization that cannabis consumers are irresponsible consumers. It just irks me to no end.

  9. @Miles – I hear ya regarding the Repubs! Like the police, there are a few good ones out there, but most I wouldn’t trust to shine my shoes! If they had their way, the incarceration of good Americans would not only continue but increase…

  10. Cannabis decriminalization is a baby step in accepting personal choice and responsibility. LEOs have been taking without due process. Its time they return to their service and protect roles instead of quota and budget balancers.

  11. As a former resident of Miami-Dade County and now a winter resident in Cape Canaveral, even if it’s a baby step, MAYBE, south Florida will lead the way for the rest of the state.

    Even though there are more young people moving there and so many baby boomers(I’m one and I hate that phrase!)relocating or retiring there, we still can’t break the strangle hold of the neo fascist Republicans in Tallahassee. I thought Republicans were about PERSONAL freedom… Oh, only if it’s about gun ownership. Personal freedom is more than just about guns. Guess the GOP didn’t read the fine print in the Constitution.

  12. This is great way to promote racism, I am a white guy retired military I get to walk and all the black guys go to jail (officers discreation). SCREW THAT ! Arrest me too. This is another fake bullshit racist law.

  13. This presidential candidate takes a stand against marijuana…
    Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina took her message to none other than Colorado itself this past week during the Western Conservative Summit, suggesting that much of what’s being said about marijuana is “misleading.”

    Specifically, Fiorina had this to say:

    “While I do in general support states’ rights, and the voters of Colorado have made a decision, I would also very quickly add that I think the legalization of marijuana is a very bad idea. I think it’s misleading to young people in particular when we tell them smoking pot is like drinking a beer. It is not.”

    Of course she would never get my vote! But, she is correct in her statement that smoking pot is not like drinking beer; beer of course being worse for your health and possibly your disposition towards others…

    Anyway, if you had any hope for her, forget it.

  14. And we’re screaming “Scott free”! We need to be “Scott free” to make any progress here. This past election, Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson dumped $6.5 billion into the anti MM campaign in order to incite likely Scott supporters to come out and stop the devil weed. The byproduct of keeping MM to only 58% was that it helped Scott squeak by his republicrat opponent as well.

  15. This changes nothing!

    Quote from South Dade News Leader:

    “The decision to arrest will still be up to the officer’s discretion. Police officials say they’ll have to develop policies concerning when a civil citation is appropriate.”

    How about 20 grams and under?

    Again, this changes nothing. How about some real laws?

  16. I’m guessing they will still be arresting people and then kicking it down to a civil fine in court PLUS court fees. Looks to me like another extra $100 for them in fees. The fine should not include them taking your pot also, which everyone seems to forget. They take the weed and fine you! That’s a lot more than $100!! Cops should not be allowed to take something if you are paying a fine for it and it’s decriminalized! Duh!

    Whatever you do, vote yes for MMJ in Florida this November 2016, it’s vital that we pass the amendment this year!!!

    Happy 4th, smoke one and smile in the sunshine Floridians because we don’t have that much farther to go 🙂

    Legalize it!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Odd .. In Florida 58% of the voters are treated like a bunch of fringe whackos to be ignored by the Tallahassee legislature.
    But in Greece, 61% has “voted *DECISIVELY* against bailout throwing Europe into a crisis”
    .. If it were not tragic, that would be some funny math

    “new-speak” doing it’s dirtiest to us.
    The Sinned Angel

  18. They have to figure out the criteria quick, and not leave whether to arrest or not all willy-nilly up to the individual law enforcement officer.

    I’m hoping that in Pennsylvania that Senate Bill 3 that finally got out of the House’s Health Committee by way of a suspected backroom deal with Rep. Dave Reed, Chair of the House Rules Committee. Rep. Miccarelli was in the process of filing the motion of discharge to have the full House vote on it, and then Baker moved the bill to Rules. WTF is going on? I certainly hope the Rules Committee is going to allow for patients to grow their own, allow patient collectives, and legalize viable seeds because we all know the opponents are going to try to amend it to death so that it is so restrictive it’s completely useless except for a few patients OR they’re going to drag it out so that the brick and mortar seed to sale buildings don’t actually materialize for years and years, and all the while patients and their caregivers (parents of kids with seizures,caregivers for cancer patients and other patients) they’ve prohibited from growing their own or forming collectives.

    If anything they definitely need to expand the ailments you can get a MMJ card for in Pennsylvania, and definitely need to legalize seeds so that the parents/patients can grow their own/form collectives and then take their buds to labs to have the tinctures made that the kids with seizures need, for example.

    We know you politicians are stalling. The kids could live long lives, but by the time Pennsylvania politicians get this done the kids with seizures could be long dead. Other patients could be long dead because they’re prolonging prohibition as long as they can.


  19. I would like to know who these Republicans are who are opposed.other than the politicions.I am and all the Republicans I know are for dropping all regulation of mj. I am a baby boomer.

  20. MJ would be legal in FL if not for the low voter turnout. Lets not make the mistake of letting Repubicans suppress the vote again. Its the only way they can win and keep their Drug War/Private Prison Complex stock profitable.

  21. Make sure you vote and remember the people who are standing in the way of legislation. ” VOTE THEM OUT ” remember them, this is for the people, they only vote for whats good for their dam asses.

  22. Florida is ruled by racist billionaire oligarchs like Sheldon Adelson that see MJ prohibition as a way to keep minorities off the voter rolls. Adelson spent millions in Florida for that purpose.

    Conservatives are the same people that burned witches at the stake, Now they are called Republicans and Blue Dogs.

  23. It’s not republicans, it’s old people. So many people have retired down here and they all voted against it. Most of them are democrats from the Northern states. (New York, New Jersey etc.) More young people should have voted. You would think everyone under 60 would be out by the millions, however, only 6 million voted out of 20 million that live in the state. Not a very good turn out for something so important.

  24. It’s not the republicans, it’s all the old people that retired here. Most of them are democrats from North states like New York, New Jersey etc. You would think that everyone under the age of 60 would have been out by the millions to vote on such an important issue, however, only 6 million out of 20 million actually voted.

  25. I am a conservative Tea Party and many of us are not rhino Republican supporters. These numb nut rhino’s like Bush and Scott could care less about your health and safety it is all about the money. They enjoy the way the system works jamb pack the courts, jails and probation population. Florida has one of the worst legal systems in the nation. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting results it is not working just costing us more. I truly believe they know this system as it is will go bankrupt.

  26. “Cabana Boy says:
    July 2, 2015 at 10:46 pm
    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.”

    They have that option so that they can make an arrest if the person is black. If white, give them a ticket, blacks will still get arrested. 🙁

  27. ^^Yeah that.

    Also, you have to remember with amendment 2, which I support and think it may help our veterans with PTSD and other conditions, it doesn’t include decriminalization for folks without a prescription so the game is still on. Lots of work to do down here in the Sunshine State before the tide starts to turn in our favor.

  28. And if Florida starts doing even more racist behavior, then they will get a Federal Monitor. The ticketing and arresting will be public record for all to review. If the Florida Police cannot handle their responsibilities as per the law, it will be even more clear with this law in place. Can you Police do your jobs without becoming Pigs? Is it possible??? If not, corrections are a’coming.

  29. We are so close folks. Let’s vote on legalization of Medical Marijuana in 2016.Then, we can follow Up. With complete Legalization. Personally, I think it should be completely legal. Think about the taxes, the state. Stands to make, if this becomes completely legal.

  30. It’s time to make it legal and stop wasting money and filling up the jails for a substance that doesn’t cause killings or other serious crime!!!!!!

  31. The va is harming vets with ptsd for the only drug that help me in 50 years was marijuana,over all the meds i have takin .Now i am drug tested monthy a im 100% disable vet with ptsd i got ,in the 10 months of combat on the dmz at khe sang.i was medavat to usa now the va wants to take my va disable benefits from me?

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