Florida Lawmaker Files Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana

A South Florida lawmaker has filed a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession in the state.

The bill, filed Monday by Rep. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat from Broward County, would reduce criminal penalties for possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis and for possession of products containing 600 milligrams or less of THC.

It would also let juvenile violators be eligible for civil citations or pre-arrest diversion programs.

"We must restore justice to our broken criminal justice system," Jones said in a statement. "For far too long, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana, and we must end this injustice once and for all."

If passed Florida would become the 27th state to decriminalize marijuana. The bill is set for the 2020 legislative session.

"After being charged with possession, many Floridians feel the lasting impact as their student financial aid, employment opportunities, housing eligibility, or immigration status are adversely affected," Jones said. "When we take away these foundational components of security, we're capping people's potential in life. That's why I'm proud to introduce legislation to fix this problem. By tackling this issue, we can make our communities more equitable and safer."

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