Hillsborough County votes to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana

Advocates for the ordinance say it will reduce “time and cost burdens currently being experienced by local law enforcement agencies.”

Hillsborough County votes to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana
PHOTO VIA ADOBE IMAGES

Anyone caught with 20 grams of marijuana or less will no longer be punished with a misdemeanor charge.

This morning, the Hillsborough County Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a measure that allows Hillsborough law enforcement officers to issue “non-criminal sanctions,” which is similar to a civil citation, and give violators access to drug screening, education and treatment opportunities.

Advocates for the ordinance argue that it will reduce “time and cost burdens currently being experienced by local law enforcement agencies.”

According to WFLA, the county commissioners passed the ordinance in a unanimous 7-0 vote. The station added that Sheriff Chad Chronister said the ordinance will go into effect in a few days.

The ordinance amendments will have no significant impact on county finances, according to the commissioner’s agenda.

The move comes four years after the City of Tampa passed a similar ordinance.

Last November, the commission voted and passed the “Cannabis Ordinance” as an alternative to charging smokers with a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of a $1,000 fine and a year of imprisonment.

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