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Florida: Marijuana Decriminalization Measures introduced

Update: Lawmakers took no further legislative action on the bill this legislative session.

Update: Florida Senate Committee on Criminal Justice met to discuss SB 1662 on Monday 4/17.

Legislation is pending in the House and Senate, SB 1662 and HB 1403, to amend marijuana penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis (28.5 grams) is no longer a criminal offense.

The bills reclassify minor marijuana offenses for those age 18 and older to a civil offense, punishable by a fine only — no jail and no criminal record.

Under existing law, the possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Possession of larger quantities is classified as a felony offense, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. These penalties are some of the strictest in the nation. 

Annually, police arrest over 40,000 Floridians for marijuana possession violations, one of the highest totals in the country. About 90 percent of all misdemeanor drug arrests in Florida are for marijuana possession. As a result, several cities and counties in Florida in recent years have moved to enact local decriminalization measures. 

Please contact your state elected officials today and urge them to support this important legislative reform. For additional information on statewide reform efforts, please visit Florida NORML here.



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