One Florida lawmaker introduced a bill on Aug. 5 that would decriminalize small amounts of cannabis.
According to Sen. Shevrin Jones, the bill (also known as House Bill 25) would make possession of 20 grams of cannabis or less and containing up to 600 milligrams of THC no longer classified as an offense. “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,” said Jones in an official release. “When we take away these foundational compounds of security, we’re capping people’s potential in life. That’s why I’m proud to introduce legislation to fix this problem.”
The reveal of this release was posted on Twitter by Jones as well. “Happy to introduce my first bill of the 2020 legislative session! Making our communities equitable and safer starts with ensuring that people have a fair shot. Floridians need reform of cannabis laws, and we will make sure we end the injustice of overcriminalization. #WEthePEOPLE”
Happy to introduce my first bill of the 2020 legislative session! Making our communities equitable and safer starts with ensuring that people have a fair shot. Floridians need reform of cannabis laws, and we will make sure we end the injustice of overcriminalization. #WEthePEOPLE pic.twitter.com/0L79ENpRhH
— Shevrin Jones (@ShevrinJones) August 5, 2019
Currently in Florida, the possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. This still carries a sentence of up to one year in jail or a $1,000 fee and a year of probation. With this bill, that would change, and juveniles caught with under 20 grams would also be eligible for a civil citation or pre-arrest diversion if this was their first offence. “We must restore justice to our broken criminal justice system,” Jones added. “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.”
Florida is making forward progress with cannabis legalization one step at a time. Tallahassee, Florida officials will soon stop convicting cannabis cases for the time being because of legalization of hemp, and the ban on smokable medical cannabis was recently lifted. If this trend keeps up, the state will see even more progress on the cannabis front in the near future.