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Two Florida Marijuana Decrim Ordinances Pass in One Day

March 3, 2016 saw two winning votes on removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession in Florida.

The first came in Volusia County where the council unanimously voted to allow $100 tickets for possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis.

Police officers in the county still have the option of arresting an offender but will be encouraged to use the new civil citations. The ordinance will go into effect on April 1.

Volusia County includes the popular tourist destination Daytona Beach.

The second vote came at the Tampa City Council where an ordinance to eliminate arrests cleared the first vote 6-1. Tampa also deals with 20 grams or less but has different fine structure with $75 for the first offense and stepping up to $450 for the fourth offense.

Tampa is the state’s third largest city. The City Council is expected to take up final passage of the ordinance on March 17.

The latest moves are part of a growing trend of county and municipal level decriminalization in Florida.

Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Monroe County, and Palm Beach County along with Key West have already passed decrim ordinances.

The reforms have earned the support of local police and prosecutors who see low-level marijuana offenses as clogging up the criminal justice system.