Hillsborough commissioners vote to decriminalize small amounts of weed

Hillsborough County

UPDATE: 10:40 A.M. | Hillsborough County commissioners unanimously passed the marijuana ordinance 7-0.

The ordinance allows “non-criminal, civil citations” to be given to those possessing less than 20 grams of weed.

An individual can receive up to four civil citations before facing a criminal charge for marijuana possession. After a third citation, violators are required to attend drug screening, an education or treatment program.

“I commend and thank Commissioner Les Miller and all of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners who worked with us to create fair enforcement and less financially burdensome penalties in regards to marijuana possession. Having consistent enforcement all throughout Hillsborough County is vital. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the city of Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City or in Unincorporated Hillsborough County, the same rules will now apply across the board,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “This ordinance allows our Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office to focus our resources on arresting and prosecuting violent offenders.”

Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister

The new ordinance will go into effect in a few days, Sheriff Chronister says.


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – On Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Commission will vote on softening the punishment for having a small amount of marijuana.

Back in November, commissioners unanimously passed the “Cannabis Ordinance,” which allows “non-criminal, civil citations” to be given to those possessing less than 20 grams of weed.

On Wednesday, the commission will have a public hearing before voting on adding the ordinance to county code.

Commissioner Les Miller, who introduced the measure, says offenders would enter have to a program, but they “would not have a record that would really mess up their lives.”

If the ordinance passes, offenders would be provided drug screenings, education and treatment opportunities.

Commissioner Pat Kemp says she supports the measure because the current system of locking up offenders for minor drug crimes is not working.

“It’s just a much better use of our sheriff’s and police resources,” said Kemp.

The city of Tampa made a similar move back in 2016 and Sarasota followed suit in December.

The meeting will take place at 10 a.m. at the Hillsborough County Center.

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