Broward County Takes First Step Toward Relaxing Penalty for Pot Possession

Broward County could soon relax its penalties when it comes to possession of marijuana.

County commissioners held their first discussion Tuesday on whether offenders should be fined rather than arrested.

It was the first step for Broward county in it's consideration of decriminalizing marijuana possession. And Tuesday's decision was unanimous.

The commission said it wants the county attorney to come up with a proposed ordinance that could allow law enforcement officers to give someone a civil penalty and fine them rather than arrest them for having a small amount of marijuana.

Commissioners do have concerns over the amount of marijuana the proposal would allow and how much the fine would be, which will all be up for discussion.

Also up for debate is whether the measure would apply in all of Broward County or just in the unincorporated areas.

Commissioner Martin Kiar, who is sponsoring the bill, said he wants to stop ruining people's lives by arresting them for a small amount of the illegal drug.

"And if they're arrested, they're required to tell their bosses and in many instances they lose their jobs and that hurts them and their families. And what this does, it would give good people a second chance in life," Kiar said.

Tuesday's meeting is the last one for the commission until August, so no major decision will be made until the fall.

Similar laws are also currently being considered in Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami Beach and Hallandale Beach.

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