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More Municipalities Embrace Marijuana Decriminalization


asset forfeiture marijuana arrestBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Local legislators in New Orleans, Louisiana and Tampa, Florida voted today in of municipal ordinances to halt minor marijuana possession arrests within city limits.

Members of the New Orleans city council voted 7 to zero in favor of legislation permitting police to cite rather than arrest minor marijuana offenders (defined as those who possess 14 grams or less), including repeat offenders. First-time violators are subject to a $40 fine while subsequent offenders may face fines of up to $100. Under state law, first-time possession offenders are subject to arrest and criminal prosecution (punishable by up to 15 days in jail) while repeat offenders face up to eight years in prison.

Members of the Tampa city council voted 5 to 1 to amend local laws so that the possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis within city limits is a non-arrestable, fine-only offense. First-time offenders face a $75 fine, while multiple offenders could face fines up to $450. By contrast, Florida law defines similar possession offenses as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Tampa’s pending law is similar to those recently enacted in a number of Florida counties, including Miami-Dade, West Palm Beach, and Volusia, as well as in several other metropolitan areas, such as Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

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Johnny Green


  1. saynotohypocrisy on

    A Federal District Court judge in California ruled on it not that long ago, maybe last year. She seemed sympathetic, but ultimately decided not to challenge the pigs. But evidence has continued to pile up since her ruling that cannabis is of course an important medicine, and I think the courts should be appealed to again, if someone can come up with the money to do that. Or as you suggest some lawyer taking it on pro bono. Any lawyer doing that would certainly have community support in gathering together all the evidence that cannabis is most certainly a crucial medicine.

  2. Yes Bernie sanders has two bill to completely remove cannabis from schedualization!!!!

  3. AntiIgnorant on

    Ignore the laws and smoke anyway… Millions do everyday. I will not acknowledge an unjust law that aims to diminish my personal freedom to consume something safer than alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals.

  4. Sharon Taulbee on

    I feel so frustrated….know any good attorneys willing to do a pro-bono case….class action lawsuit….bring everyone together that way….silly I know….but this is worth fighting for….. I am open to other ideas however the whole class action lawsuit idea feels right…..I guess you’re gonna tell that’s been tried as well…law suit with one goal and that is to force either a lowering of schedule or complete removal from the schedule listing….a gal can dare to hope….

  5. Closet Warrior on

    Girl, it’s all been tried. We just have to wait till the people stand together as a nation and say NO to PULL NATION and everybody growing their own so much that the police depts. stay flooded w/420 calls, Until then we wage our war!

  6. Sharon Taulbee on

    Baby steps I suppose….better than not at all….question….has anyone petitioned for marijuana’s removal from schedule 1 status. State by state…across the nation?

  7. Just because the cops “can” cite rather than “arrest”. it doesn’t mean they won’t choose the latter. LEGALIZE!!

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