A few cities in Florida are going to change local marijuana laws. Local governments want to decriminalize cannabis despite the state lawmakers’ unwillingness to do so. Since Florida has the third-highest number of annual arrests for possession of marijuana in the U.S, the upcoming legalization of the drug is going to be a fateful decision for most Floridians.
According to one of the latest polls by Quinnipiac University, about 88% of Floridians support legalization of medical cannabis. About 55% of Florida residents would vote in favor of the decriminalization of recreational cannabis.
Four Florida cities with legalized marijuana
A massive campaign for marijuana decriminalization started in July in Miami-Dade county, the largest one in the state. Local officials passed an ordinance that was changing a possible penalty for marijuana possession. According to the document, the person who got caught with 20 grams of cannabis or less can be punished by paying a $100 fee. But this rule will work only for civil infractions.
Similar measures were imposed in July in Miami Beach and in August in Hallandale Beach. One more similar policy is going to be finalized in Key West City later in September.
The decriminalization of marijuana use and possession is possible in two more cities in Florida. Local governments in St. Petersburg and in Palm Beach County may legalize cannabis in the next few months.
A 2016 ballot can change everything
There is one more possibility to change the status of marijuana users and possessors in Florida. A group of local advocates is pushing an initiative of recreational marijuana legalization to a 2016 ballot. If the initiative gains 60% of the votes, recreational cannabis will be decriminalized in all cities and counties in Florida. It means that adults at age 21 or older will be able to use and possess a limited amount of cannabis without the risk of being charged with a criminal offense.
A special ordinance that is going to change the existing medical marijuana laws will be also voted later in 2016. Earlier in 2014 the initiative did not get enough votes to exceed the 60% barrier.