Lawmakers in Palm Beach County, Florida have voted 4 to 1 to pass a measure that establishes a ticket for those caught possessing up to 20 grams of cannabis, similar to laws passed recently in Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county, as well as Broward County, Key West, West Palm Beach and Hallandale Beach.
Under the new law, police officers will have the option of issuing a $100 civil citation to someone caught with 20 grams or less of cannabis rather than being legally forced to issue a misdemeanor (punishable by up to a year in prison) as the current law stands.
“We have to understand that we cannot legislate and lock up everybody for everything they do,” says Commissioner Priscilla Taylor.
“For someone who is caught with a small amount of marijuana, I think it’s worth it in order to not mess up that person’s life,” says Commissioner Steven Abrams.
According to data from the county, there is nearly 2,000 annual arrests for the possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis, with 90% of those cases resulting in a person being imprisoned.