Multiple counties and cities in Florida have taken it upon themselves to decriminalize the drug, after waiting patiently for the state to pass proper legislation. Florida still may legalize the drug after this year, but places like St. Petersburg are ready to move forward now. One committee member asked to decriminalize the plant, allowing for civil citations to act as punishments. While the committee gets their plan together, others are moving forward with the plan, as current repercussions for possession are even as harsh as losing a drivers license for a year.
Council member Steve Kornell proposed the city ordinance that would allow police to give a ticket with a fine to someone possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana -- about 3/4 of an ounce.
Several council members told the Times they didn't want to send the wrong message to young people about marijuana use. But they said the racial disparities in marijuana arrests and the spiral effect of the arrests---losing a driver's license for one year, for example---outweighed their concerns.