With a rich tradition of rappers, stripper, raves, and haze, Miami has long been one of America’s most tantalizing and wildest city to escape to. And while weed (along with powders and pills) is certainly easy to obtain in the city, it’s been very much illegal and sent many people to jail.
Like the rest of Florida, pot penalties in Florida’s biggest county, Miami-Dade, ranked among the highest in the nation–until yesterday. By a vote of 10-3, the county’s commissioners approved a bill that turns possession of under 20 grams into a mere $100 fine.
That vote only applies to Miami-Dade county, in which Miami exists, so the rest of Florida remains not so lucky. In other parts of the Sunshine State , 20 grams or less can still get you up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The higher Florida possession penalties escalate to even more outrageous heights (like 5 years in jail for more than 20 grams)
The new law goes into effect in 10 days and immediately will free up police’s time and the prison system used to punish silly, minor marijuana offenses. Additionally, none of these civil offenses will go on offenders’ criminal records and anyone fined $100 will have the option to work off that fine via community service.
Considering 10% of the county’s arrests were made up by minor pot possession arrests–of which only 2% were even prosecuted–the move was a no brainer that frees up some tax dollars and some morality in and around Miami.
And it’s the wave of the future. Every week, it seems like a new state, city, county or country is decriminalizing cannabis. These dominoes will continue to keep falling with federal decriminalization appearing as only a matter of time.