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Broward Vice Mayor Proposes Civil Fines and not Arrest or Jail for Minor Marijuana Possession

DATE:  June 19, 2015
CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe
Public Information Manager, Broward Commission
PHONE: 954-357-8053

BROWARD COUNTY, FL - Misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Broward County may soon be reduced to a $100 fine, instead of an arrest and time in jail. 

Vice Mayor Marty Kiar is sponsoring a proposal that would de-criminalize possession of twenty grams or less of pot in Broward County.  Under the plan, law enforcement officers would have the option of issuing a civil infraction instead of a criminal charge. 

"Many good people are arrested and their lives are ruined because they had in their possession a misdemeanor amount of marijuana. If this proposed ordinance passes and takes effect, civilly citing people rather than arresting them, will provide good folks, who make a mistake, with a second chance in life," said Vice Mayor Kiar.

The overall goal is to reduce overcrowded jails and allow people who are carrying a small amount of marijuana to pay a fine rather than face criminal charges and a criminal record.  The new law would give police the option of issuing a civil fine or making an arrest. 

Broward County Commissioners will discuss the issue on Tuesday, June 23rd and if passed, the county attorney will be instructed to draft an ordinance that would come back to the Board for further discussion and final approval at a later date.

Fourteen states have decriminalized minor marijuana possession and similar laws are currently under consideration in Miami-Dade County, the city of Miami Beach and Hallandale Beach.