A member of the Jacksonville, Florida city council filed a bill on Thursday that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure, the Jacksonville Civil Citation for Small Quantity Marijuana Possession Ordinance, would give law enforcement officers the option to issue a civil citation for possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis. The bill was authored by Councilman Garrett Dennis, who said in a statement that the ordinance would allow police to concentrate on more serious matters.
“Our officers’ focus should be on violent crimes, and although illegal, possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana should not be life-altering,” said Dennis. “Civil citations would be the first step in minimizing arrests, but still holding the individual accountable.”
Alluding to efforts to legalize the use of recreational cannabis by adults in Florida at the state level, the councilman added that “having an option to issue a civil citation would essentially support legislation coming out of Tallahassee, and ultimately assist with the overcrowding of our jails and the court system.”
Bill Would Impose Fines Instead of Jail Time
If passed, those cited under the ordinance with possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana would face a fine of