LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) – Another Tampa Bay area city could be following Tampa’s lead when it comes to weed. Lakeland could be the next city to lessen the punishment for having a small amount of marijuana. News Channel 8 has learned that city commissioners are planning to discuss decriminalization.
Because it is early on in the process specifics have not been discussed. But typically it would only apply to people caught with a small amount of marijuana. Instead of criminal charges, a hefty fine, and jail time, which residents currently face, tokers would likely pay a ticket.
Lakeland residents have mixed views on it.
“It would be the way to go. I mean they spend a lot of money sending people to jail over a little bit of marijuana,” said Robert Pfister. “I think it would have less chance of ruining youths futures,” said Devan Masters of Lakeland.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea because it kind of lessens the adverse affect for it,” said Orlando Haynes.
“It encourages it as a recreational drug. I’ve seen personally where it starts recreational and turns into a lifestyle,” said Deena Masters.
“My personal bias frankly is against decriminalization,” said City of Lakeland Mayor Howard Wiggs.
He said he has always heard marijuana is a gateway drug, but he vowed to go into discussions with an open mind.
“It’s concerning to me that we may have young folks who may have their lives ruined because they have a small amount of marijuana. This needs to be a countywide discussion and we need to do what’s best for the City of Lakeland,” said Mayor Wiggs.
The discussion is scheduled for Monday June 20, 2016 at the city hall.