Orlando decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana

Proposal eases punishment for those caught with marijuana

By Tyler Shepard - Producer
ORLANDO, Fla. -
City leaders in Orlando voted Monday to pass the marijuana ordinance that changes how the city deals with people caught with marijuana.
 
 
 
The proposal, which gives police the option of not arresting people found with 20 grams of the drug or less if it is a first offense, passed the council with a 4-to-3 vote at the final reading.

Under the new ordinance that takes effect in October, offenders would get a ticket. The fines for a first offense are $100, second offense is $200 and third offenses require mandatory court appearance.

The ordinance also requires a substance abuse diversionary program with 8 hours of substance abuse education or 8 hours of community service.

The fine revenue will be used to support the substance abuse education, according to officials.

The ordinance passed a first reading last month by a vote of 4-3. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the change is about giving people a second chance.
 
"With an arrest record, it becomes more challenging for them to get a job, more challenging to join the military and more challenging to get financial aid," Dyer said.
 
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