Mar 232016
 March 23, 2016

tampa florida marijuanaI have always been a fan of local politics. That’s not to say that I don’t like national politics too, because I do. But there’s something about local politics that excites me in particular. When it comes to marijuana politics, local politics are particularly important. As I always say, if you can’t win at the state level, start out at the local level. After enough local victories the momentum will build towards an eventual statewide victory.

I’m happy to say that there have been several local marijuana reform victories recently. More and more municipalities are looking at decriminalizing personal marijuana possession in an attempt to save money and reduce the impact that a marijuana charge has on people’s lives, especially among minorities. Tampa, Florida is the latest city to decriminalize marijuana possession. Per TampaBay.Com:

Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Monday signed the ordinance approved by the City Council last week on a 5 to 1 vote, said spokeswoman Ashley Bauman.

Tampa police officers now have the option of imposing a civil fine instead of arresting offenders caught with up to 20 grams — or about ¾ of an ounce — of marijuana. Offenders could get a citation with fines starting at $75, rising to $150 for a second offense, $300 for a third and $450 for any offense after that.

Buckhorn’s approval isn’t a surprise. He has previously voiced support for the measure that supporters say creates an alternative to burdening people, especially young black men, with criminal records that make it harder to find jobs or maintain a driver’s license.

No one should be put in a jail cell for possessing a plant that has been proven to be 114 times safer than alcohol. In a perfect world people wouldn’t get fined for possessing marijuana either, but decriminalizing personal amounts of marijuana in Tampa is a great step in the right direction. I’d imagine more and more cities in Florida will decriminalize, joining the growing number of other municipalities that have already done so. Good stuff.

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  • http://www.organibliss.com Doc Deadhead

    Why is it this bill gives the officer the “option” to arrest or fine. This should be mandatory just a fine for under 20 gms. This still allows cops to discriminate against blacks.

    Guaranteed the cops will still arrest blacks and write tickets to whites OR whomever they choose.

    This should NOT be up to the street cops, they will side on arrest for their own personal gains or attitudes.

    They don’t like you or your color….jail time, a white preppy nurd, just a ticket.

    This should NOT be up to the officer, they do not care if they fu*k up your life or not.

    • Been around

      I agree. Quit pussy-footing around with this issue. If someone is publicly smoking the stuff and it’s fineable, then do that —- FINE THEM. There should be no gray area here for the individual officers involved.
      The best thing to do would be to do what thousands upon thousands of other law-enforcers do —– just turn your cheek and go find some real crime to fight.
      Only the dickhead cops will even think about spending their time (our tax dollar) on something so trivial. Hell, most of them would rather nail that SOB down the street that just kicked his dog ——————- and when it comes down to it, KICKING A DOG IS MUCH MORE OF A “CRIME” THAN USING CANNABIS.
      Our justice system just hasn’t caught up with doing the appropriate and correct thing —– take down those who threaten or victimize another human being OR animal.

  • Joe Thomas

    That great. The most infuriating episode of COPS I’ve seen was filmed in the Tampa area and they were running a sting to bust people buying “drugs”. In this episode they showed a kid getting busted for buying like a dime bag from undercover police and on top of that bullshit arrest they were able to steal (seize) his car, The obviously hardened criminal was crying and really confused.

    • Fungi Sclerotia 1427

      Meanwhile,
      on the Left Coast, worlds away from FloriDUH,
      (on an episode of COPS, in California),
      local police help a medical cannabis
      patient recover 3 tree-sized, (5ft tall), plants
      that one of the neighbors had stolen from her.