Misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Broward County may soon be reduced to a $100 fine, instead of resulting in an arrest and time in jail.
On Tuesday, October 6th, Commissioners will discuss a proposed ordinance that allows law enforcement officers, at their discretion, to issue a civil citation in stead of filing a state misdemeanor criminal charge against a person carrying twenty grams or less of pot. The proposed civil fine is $100 for the first offense and $250 for repeat violations. The fine could be waived if the person elected to attend a county approved community service program.
“I believe this is an important issue for Broward County and our residents. If passed, it will give good people, who have made a mistake a second chance in life,” said Vice Mayor Marty Kiar, who first brought the issue forward. Commissioners Dale V.C. Holness and Beam Furr are also sponsors of the new ordinance.
Under the county proposal, civil citations would not be allowed if marijuana is found in conjunction with other crimes such as driving under the influence, any felony, violent crime, domestic violence or outstanding citations. The ordinance would be enforceable throughout Broward County, except in cities who already h ave laws or have formally elected not to abide by the terms of the county ordinance.
Florida law makes possession of twenty grams or less of marijuana a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail term of one year and a $1,000 fine.
The Commission meeting begins tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 422 in Fort Lauderdale.
If initial approval is given, a public hearing will be set for October 27th.