Orlando considers decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
Mayor Buddy Dyer, police chief hold news conference
ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on Wednesday discussed a possible new civil citation process for misdemeanor violations that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Dyer, along with Orlando Police Chief John Mina and Organize Now, talked about the issue Wednesday morning at a news conference at City Hall.
The process, which will also be discussed at a City Council meeting Monday afternoon, would decriminalize possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, allowing officers to issue citations, rather than make arrests.
When News 6 asked Dyer what message the decriminalization of marijuana gives to teens who have been told to say "no" to drugs, no matter what the amount is, Dyer said they should still say "no," but the proposed ordinance wouldn't ruin a young person's life if they make the mistake of saying "yes."
"This third option is not as harsh as an arrest, which can result in jail time and the possibility of lifelong criminal record, but it still holds the offender responsible for their behavior," said Dyer.
Officials proposed that first-time offenders would pay a $50 fine instead of the possibility of going to jail for up to a year. Second-time offenders would face a $100 fine.
As it stands now, if someone is caught with a small amount of marijuana, officers can confiscate the drugs and let them go with a warning or arrest them.
The city of Tampa and Volusia County both approved similar ordinances last month.
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