Miami-Dade Commissioners Pass Pot Possession Fine Proposal

Miami-Dade commissioners have approved a measure that allows police to fine someone caught with a misdemeanor amount of marijuana rather than place them under arrest.

Commissioners passed the ordinance with a 10-3 vote Tuesday afternoon.

"Most of the individuals charged with this are very productive citizens, they're bright students or young professionals," Miami-Dade County Judge Sam Slom said.

The new law would allow officers to issue $100 citations for marijuana possession, but would still allow police to arrest someone with 20 grams or less.

The offender would either pay the $100 fine or work off the penalty with two days of community service.

"A lot of people shouldn't be stigmatized for having, possessing marijuana," Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.

The law would apply to adults 18 and over. It only includes possession, and smoking marijuana in public is still prohibited.

While most seemed in favor of the move, Commissioner Pepe Diaz said he has concerns about repeat offenders.

"They could just do this, do this, do this, there is no limitation to as many times as they get caught doing this, which creates another set of problems," Diaz said.

Gimenez hammered home the point.

"I don't want discretion on somebody who is caught smoking In public," he said. "Smoking in public, I think you're going to go to jail and that's what I want to make sure that it's in the ordinance."

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