asset forfeiture marijuana arrest
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Orlando City Council Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana

asset forfeiture marijuana arrestThe Orlando City Council took a final vote yesterday on marijuana decriminalization, and I’m happy to say, the vote was favorable. Decriminalization in Orlando took a different form than originally proposed, but it was still a great step in the right direction. Orlando follows in the footsteps of other municipalities in Florida that have decided to decriminalize marijuana. Per the Orlando Sentinel:

The ordinance would give Orlando officers the option to issue citations, akin to a ticket, rather than make arrests. Despite his reservations, Stuart voted yes both times, but argued the originally proposed $50 fine for first offenders was too low.

The revised version of the ordinance calls for a $100 fine for first-time offenders and a $200 fine for a second offense. Any subsequent offenses would require a court appearance, as well as a possible fine as high as $500.

Also new: The city plans to create a diversion program, similar to the one that exists in criminal courts, which would allow those ticketed to opt for eight hours of community service or substance-abuse education, rather than a fine.

The proposal is scheduled to take effect on October 1. I’ll be curious to see how many people choose the diversion program over the fine. Drug rehab companies and their supporters will be quick to offer up stats as to how many of their customers are there for marijuana. However, with so many people being required to choose diversion/treatment in most areas, those stats are always biased.  I have to assume if people are facing a $100 fine versus mandatory diversion, more people will just pay the fine rather than being subjected to frequent drug testing and ‘stoner shaming.’ I guess we will have to wait and see.

  • David Yoseph Schreiber

    It’s a step in the right direction and is not conceptually different from all the stupid conditions attached to medical marijuana. To right all the wrongs against cannabis in one step, often is not practical.

    • Fungi Sclerotia 1427

      In terms of cannabis-law reform, California is 20-30 years AHEAD of Florida:
      Florida 2016, approx = California 1996, though Florida still has onerous state law
      that considers amounts of 20 grams and over as a “felony” vs Ca’s $100 fine for up to 28 grams.

  • Ervin

    The diversion programs are almost always for profit contractors that are designed to keep the individual in the system as long as possible in order to make a greater profit. I dont see many people opting to go down that route

    • Fungi Sclerotia 1427

      Best thing to do is LAY LOW,
      and AVOID getting caught-up into the criminal-injustice system in the first place,
      (esp in Floriduh), no matter how “lenient” the “decrim” penalties appear to be.

  • Florida is a state full of serious violent crime. The last thing needed is jails jam-packed with nonviolent potheads.