A city-wide ordinance that will establish an $155 civil infraction for the possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis has been passed by the Port Richey, Florida City Council. The 3 to 2 vote makes Port Richey the first city in Pasco County to pass a cannabis decriminalization ordinance.
Under the new law, police will have the option of issuing an $155 civil citation (ticket) for those caught possessing up to 20 grams of cannabis, rather than arresting them and charging them with a misdemeanor as current law mandates (the misdemeanor carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and/or a maximum fine of up to $1,000).
“That was easier than I thought it was going to be,” Mayor Dale Massad, a supporter of the proposal, said with a smile on his face following the Council’s vote.
The lobbying effort behind the measure was led by Garyn Angel, owner of Magical Butter, a machine designed to easily make cannabis butter, in addition to other things.
The law is essentially identical to ordinances recently passed in Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county, as well as Broward County, Palm Beach County, Volusia County, Key West, West Palm Beach, Hallandale Beach, Orlando and Tampa.
The vote comes less than two months before voters Florida vote on Amendment 2, which would legalize the medical use of cannabis, including establishing a system of regulated medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centers.
Port Richey is a small town with a population of roughly 2,600 residents according to the most recent Census Bureau report.