Marijuana decriminalization victories are spreading across Florida. Recently Miami-Dade County voted to decriminalize, along with Miami Beach. I have always said that decriminalization is a no-brainer for local governments because it saves money. Philadelphia decriminalized marijuana about a year ago, and the city saved over 1 million dollars as a result. Hallandale Beach, Florida voted last week to follow suit. Per The Joint Blog:
Under the new law, police will have the option of issuing a $100 fine to those caught possessing no more than 20 grams of cannabis, rather than arresting and prosecuting them. Under current law, the possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor which can result in a year-long prison sentence.
“[The measure] will allow police officers to focus their efforts on more serious forms of crime plaguing our streets, unclogging a criminal justice system too often bogged down with cases of minor marijuana possession,” saiys Hallandale Beach Commission Keith London, who introduced the measure.
The decriminalization measure will go into effect on September 19th. I’m curious to see how many other local Florida governments also decriminalize marijuana within the next year. Getting the first local government to do it is always the hardest. But now that the ‘seal is broken’ I’m hoping that the floodgates open for reform in Florida. After all, the sky is still intact, and other local governments can see via math alone that this is just sound public policy, in addition to being logical. No one should be treated like a hardened criminal because they choose to consume cannabis.