Florida lawmakers file bill to overhaul marijuana laws

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Two Florida lawmakers want a total overhaul of the state’s marijuana laws.

Congressman Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) and Senator Jeff Clements (D-Lake Worth) filed a bill this week to decriminalize minor possession of marijuana.

Their proposal, HB 1403, re-categorizes misdemeanor possession offenses as non-criminal civil violations.

Adults caught with small amounts of marijuana would be ordered to pay a fine of more than $100 or up to 15 hours of community service, depending on the individual’s income.

Minors would need to complete 15 hours of community service.

Cities in Miami-Dade, Volusia and Alachua counties along with the City of Orlando have already instituted similar legislation in an effort to curb misdemeanor arrests for possession.

Under current law, adults and minors in possession of marijuana could face a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Over 40,000 Floridians were arrested for misdemeanor drug offenses last year—over 90 percent of those arrests were for marijuana possession.

They ACLU claims these arrests costs taxpayers $228,635,840.

Rep Smith said in a statement:

“39,706 Floridians were arrested in 2016 for low-level cannabis possession. These draconian marijuana possession laws have wasted taxpayer dollars, unnecessarily filled up our state prison system, and distracted law enforcement from focusing on apprehending dangerous criminals. We should be creating opportunities for people to succeed– not creating obstacles and ruining lives over minor infractions or youthful indiscretions. It is past time for the legislature to end the unjust incarceration of Floridians for non-violent drug offenses. If Amendment 2 was any indication, public opinion on marijuana has changed drastically over the years. Tallahassee politicians must catch up with where a majority of Floridians already are.”WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON-

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