Largest Florida county approves citations for pot possession

AP News
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Posted: Jun 30, 2015 6:17 PM

MIAMI (AP) — People caught with small amounts of marijuana can now receive civil citations instead of jail time in Florida's largest county, the first in the state to treat marijuana possession as a non-criminal act.

The Miami-Dade County Commission agreed Tuesday to let police issue $100 civil citations for possessing up to 20 grams of marijuana.

County Commissioner Sally Heyman said her measure seeks to spare people a criminal record and reduce the burden on the criminal justice system.

The decision to arrest will still be up to the officer's discretion. Police officials say they'll have to develop policies concerning when a civil citation is appropriate.

Paul Armentano is deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He says similar laws have already been enacted in 14 states.