New County Law Allows Option of Civil Citation for Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession • Hollywood GazettePosted by On

Broward County Commissioners have passed a new ordinance that gives law enforcement officers the option of issuing a civil citation to anyone caught with twenty grams or less of marijuana, instead of making an arrest.

“Eighty percent of people arrested for marijuana possession are never convicted, yet an arrest can ruin their lives. This simply gives people another chance at life,” said Vice Mayor Marty Kiar, who brought the ordinance forward. “There’s a fiscal component too, because after an arrest people go to jail, often lose their jobs and their ability to provide for their families and in the end, taxpayers pay for that.” 

“We’re not taking away the op tion for an officer to make an arrest. It’s up to a trained law enforcement officer to decide if the situation warrants an arrest or a civil citation,” said Mayor Tim Ryan. 

The civil citation carries a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third. Those given citations would have a choice of paying the fine, performing community service, or can voluntarily participate in a drug treatment or educational program. After a third citation, an assessment would be mandatory to determine if the person should participate in a drug treatment or educational program. No civil citation would be available for a fourth or subsequent offense.  

“This is not a blank check,” said Commissioner Lois Wexler. “At some point there has to be a hammer. Some people have to hit…

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