Miami-Dade Police Officers Can Give Now Give Fines For Marijuana

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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The largest county in Florida, Miami-Dade County, will now issue $100 fines or community service as a punishment for personal marijuana possession, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s just like a traffic ticket, you have a fine to pay, ” said County Commissioner Sally Heyman. “It’s low enough that people can do community service.”

The measure passed 10-3. The new proposed law doesn’t classify as decriminalization, as officers still have the ability to arrest for marijuana possession. Residents caught with up to 20 grams of marijuana will be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000.

“It is still illegal, but it’s going to be handled in a different way,” said County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a supporter of the measure. “It’s just another tool our officers can use.”

Gimenez hopes that officers will still use their arrest powers when marijuana is smoked in public.

In 2014, there were 8,629 marijuana misdemeanor cases closed in court in Miami-Dade county, over 44,000 cases between 2010-2014.

The decision to arrest will be up to the officer’s discretion. Javier Souto who voted against it, believes it is a slap on the wrist, saying, “I could see a teenager telling their parents, ‘it’s just a fine.'”

The proposal was drafted with the help of the Miami-Dade Police Department and becomes effective in 10 days.

Tags : marijuana
Alex Pfeiffer