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West Palm Beach Cultivates Civil Fines For Personal Marijuana Infractions

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As the ugly and costly ramifications of the 1937 marijuana tax act slowly recedes into the shadows of prohibitionist history, forward thinking bureaucrats and politicians alike in West Palm Beach accepted a citywide ordinance allowing the police the option of choosing how to deal with individual marijuana infractions. Permitting the police to simply cite individuals, rather than arresting them for personal possession.

According to online reports, after voting unanimously in favor of reducing the penalty for personal marijuana possession (less than 20 grams), the West Palm Beach city commission modified the community’s marijuana policy. Stipulating that legal adults over the age of 18 caught possessing no more than three quarters of an ounce of marijuana would be allowed to enter a first offender program, and be required to pay a civil fine of $ 100.

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While Public Safety Director Kirk Blouin was none too pleased with the recent vote, the otherwise welcome and bold move by the West Palm Beach city commission flies in the face of Florida State Law, which calls similar infractions a criminal misdemeanor. Punishable by up to 12 months in the county jail, an ugly blight on your criminal record, and a $ 1,000 fine – just to drive home the point.

Thankfully, West Palm Beach is now a member of a rather exclusive club in the Sunshine State, joining Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, and Key West as the only other Florida municipalities that have adopted similar decriminalization efforts.

In the below video, Ethan Nadelmann Director of Drug Policy Alliance and former DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson debate the effectiveness of decriminalizing marijuana.

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