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Lawmakers seek to decriminalize small amounts of pot

On March 11, it was reported that two Florida lawmakers introduced a bill that would decriminalize possession of personal amounts of marijuana. If the bill is passed, those who are found in possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana will face a noncriminal civil violation.

The civil penalty for the violation would only include a fine of $100. If violators do not want to pay the fine or cannot afford it, they may have the option to complete 15 hours of community service. The bill would may require that those under the age of 18 would have to complete a drug awareness program.

Under the current law, possession of personal amounts of marijuana could lead to a misdemeanor charge that is punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and one year in jail. The proposed bill states that the penalties under the current law are far too severe for the type of offense. If the bill is signed into law, it would go into effect on July 1.

In the state of Florida, the penalties that people may receive if they are convicted on certain types of drug charges are severe. A criminal law attorney may potentially argue that the drugs did not belong to the accused person, especially if the drugs were found in a vehicle that the accused person was borrowing. In other cases, the attorney may seek to have the case dismissed especially if authorities did not properly follow procedures or searched a vehicle or property without consent or a warrant. Otherwise, the attorney may seek a reduced sentence for the drug possession charge if the evidence against the accused person is strong.

Source: Brandon Patch, "ICYMI: Decriminalized Pot May Be In Florida's Future", Sherri Lonon, March 11, 2017

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