Commissioners of Florida’s largest county voted on Tuesday to allow police officers to issue a civil fine instead of arresting someone caught with fewer than 20 grams of marijuana — the emphasis, unfortunately, is on the word allow.
The Miami-Dade County Commissioners voted 10-3 to allow officers to issue offenders a $100 fine instead of arresting them. Those unable to pay the fine will have the option of doing two days of community service.
Police would retain the option of arresting offenders. Supporters claim that such action would be reserved for those caught smoking in public or who appear to be selling the drug.
Commissioner Sally Heyman, who voted in favor of the ordinance, said that “We have better things to do with our police resources. For goodness’ sakes, we don’t have to destroy the lives of so many.”
Current Florida law makes possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable by a misdemeanor with up to a year in prison and fine of up to $1,000.
Photo Credit: Matthew Hurst