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Orlando Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance Passes

Per our recent post covering the press conference, the City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer regarding the city’s decision to approach the City Council with the option of making marijuana possession a fined offense as opposed to cause for arrest. On Monday, May 9th the City Council voted and the Orlando Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance was passed with a 4-3 vote.  The ordinance was revised making the fine for first time offenders $100 instead of the original $50 that was mentioned during the press conference. The measure makes possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana (about two-thirds of an ounce) a code violation. Orlando Police will now have discretion to issue a citation rather than make an arrest. A first offense would be punishable with a $100 fine, a second offense with a $200 fine and a third offense would result in a mandatory court appearance.

Racial Justice Organization Says This Is A Positive Step For Minority Equality

Korey Wheeler, who serves as the Racial Justice co-chair for Organize Now and spoke at the press conference in support of the new ordinance, added: “I’m just glad it passed. It was a lot of hard work. We’ve been working for this for almost a year.” Advocates for the ordinance said it also means racial justice since statistics show marijuana usage between African-Americans and whites is about the same. Nationally, however, African-Americans are four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Overview:

  • Police officers can issue citations rather than make arrests starting with $100 for First Time Offenders
  • Ordinance will take effect in October
  • Tampa passed similar ordinance earlier this year with positive results