There is a growing trend in Florida. Local governments are voting to decriminalize marijuana. Florida lawmakers may not be willing to step up and decriminalize marijuana, but that hasn't stopped local governments in Southeastern Florida from taking matters into their own hands. Key West, Florida is the latest local government to decriminalize marijuana. Per The Joint Blog:
The Key West, Florida City Commission has voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that would establish an $100 ticket for the possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis. Similar proposals were approved recently in Miami-Dade, Florida's largest county, and in Miami Beach.
Under the proposed ordinance, which will be given one final vote on September 1st before becoming 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 guaranteed misdemeanor which can result in a year-long prison sentence.
I read a study (about Philadelphia decriminalizing marijuana) that found that arresting someone for marijuana costs law enforcement agencies an average of $1,250. To write someone a ticket costs $20. Decriminalization is obviously not as good as outright legalization, but it's certainly better than charging people with a crime. This is a great move by Key West, Florida, and I hope that more communities will continue this trend in Florida.