Decriminalize it: Shevrin Jones’ bill would make pot possession ‘noncriminal’
Image by Ben Goodwin from Pixabay.

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"Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted."

Rep. Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat, has introduced legislation for the 2020 Session that would decriminalize marijuana.

“We must restore justice to our broken criminal justice system,” Jones said in a statement Monday.

“For far too long, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana, and we must end this injustice once and for all.”

The legislation (HB 25) would update Florida law to state that possession or delivery of fewer than 20 grams of cannabis or 600 milligrams or less of THC in cannabis products would be considered a noncriminal offense.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive ingredient that causes marijuana’s “high.”

In addition, juveniles who violate certain provisions of the law are eligible for civil citation or pre-arrest diversion programs.

“After being charged with possession, many Floridians feel the lasting impact as their student financial aid, employment opportunities, housing eligibility, or immigration status are adversely affected,” Jones added.

“When we take away these foundational components of security, we’re capping people’s potential in life. That’s why I’m proud to introduce legislation to fix this problem. By tackling this issue, we can make our communities more equitable and safer.”

Sen. Gary Farmer and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith attempted to go further and legalize marijuana during the 2019 Legislative Session. Both of their bills failed.

In addition to Jones’ effort, a group is backing a constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


3 comments

  • Ben James

    August 5, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    My family moved to South Florida and 1960. As I grew up as a teenager in South Florida one thing was absolutely clear, there was never any trouble getting hold of cannabis. Although I no longer live in the state I visit frequently and my friends there found Cannabis easy to obtain even before medical cannabis was legalized. Cannabis probation in the State of Florida is a joke! Legalization, full legalization is the only logical path forward and anything else smacks of corruption amongst lawmakers. Data from the Centers for Disease Control proves beyond a shadow of doubt that cannabis is much safer to consume an alcoholic beverages or tobacco products freely available at any Corner Market throughout the state of Florida.

  • Brian Kelly

    August 5, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Don’t be fooled by marijuana “decriminalization” because citizens are still going to be treated like common criminals for marijuana under it. This is what desperate anti-marijuana prohibitionist types will now settle for.

    They also fail to mention the additional huge cost of court costs which can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars on top of the relatively small ticket/fine.

    If you fail to pay these very expensive and often unaffordable court costs you will be in “the system” as a criminal. With a warrant out for your arrest and incarceration.

    This policy still allows marijuana to be used as a tool and probable cause by law enforcement to investigate marijuana consumers for no other reason other than even the detection of the scent of marijuana by law enforcement.

    Overall, decriminalization through it’s hidden, super expensive court costs and mandatory summons to appear in court, combined with the allowance of marijuana to still be used by law enforcement as a tool and probable cause still allows marijuana to be an ordinary. otherwise law abiding citizen’s introduction into the criminal justice system.

    No thanks! If this so called policy of marijuana “decriminalization” truly means marijuana is no longer supposed to be a “crime”, then why are marijuana consumers still going to be treated like criminals under it?

    Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws as the drinkers of alcohol. Plain and simple!

    Citizens will STILL be forced to the dangerous black market and a shady illegal street drug dealer to purchase their marijuana. Getting caught buying it is STILL a crime they will arrest and jail you for. Then, they will also most likely try to FORCE you to either mandatory community service and/or rehab, and if you don’t comply, guess what? JAILTIME!

    Also, we will still be wasting our tax dollars sending police around to write summons to marijuana users and wasting police manpower and resources.

    Instead of allowing our police the time, manpower and resources to protect us all from real, dangerous criminals who actually commit crimes with victims and pose a real threat to society.

    Why else do you think some politicians are so EAGER to “decriminalize”, instead of LEGALIZE?

    Don’t Let’em Fool Us!!!

    If you can’t purchase it legally, then it isn’t legal.

    If you have to fear a monetary fine/ticket which if you don’t pay and/or show up in court to handle, you then become a criminal with a warrant out for your arrest, and when convicted (yes convicted, as in crime.) you will then be forced into free manual labor and/or forced drug rehabilitation to be used as another statistic prohibitionists love to flaunt about supposed “marijuana addicts”, then….No, it’s not legal!

    This will not suffice! Getting caught purchasing marijuana is still considered a serious “drug deal” and you will be prosecuted for it!

    DEMAND FULL MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION NATIONWIDE!

  • John Thomas

    August 6, 2019 at 5:53 am

    This story is incomplete. – With polls showing most Floridians, and most Americans, wanting to re-legalize marijuana, what is the point of just filing a decriminalization bill?

    That leaves intact all the violence, corruption and danger to consumers that comes from the criminal black-market! – For what purpose?

    If it’s okay to possess and consume marijuana, then it’s okay to grow and sell it. Let’s let some basic logic into the Reefer Madness.

    It’s time to end ALL of the fraudulently enacted, marijuana prohibition. – Every person who chooses near harmless marijuana over addictive, very harmful alcohol, improves their health tremendously – as well as the lives of their family and community.

    Stop denying justice, logic and the will of the people!

Comments are closed.


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