On Tuesday, Broward County approved an ordinance that will allow law enforcement to reduce the penalty for pot possession — in some cases — to a ticket. Commissioners came to a unanimous decision to fine people $100 for possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana. Second offenses would be $250, and third offenses would be $500. After three fines, possession would be considered a crime.
The vote allows for cops to treat marijuana as a misdemeanor crime in cases as they see fit. A person could still be arrested for possessing even a small amount of pot. but discretion will remain with law enforcement on a case-by-case basis. Earlier this year, Miami-Dade County commissioners passed a similar ordinance that was estimated to save the city about $40,000 a year.
The gist of the new ordinance is that it allows the county to keep small-time pot smokers out of jail and keeps convictions off their future job applications. Rather than tying up the legal system with a courtroom full of people who got caught smoking a joint, police officers now have the option of simply writing them a citation and sending them home. [Read more at Broward Palm Beach New Times]
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