UPDATE (03-03-16): The Volusia County Council passed the ordinance by a 7-0 vote during today’s meeting. It will take effect April 1st.
Earlier reporting below.
DeLand, FL – Those caught with marijuana in Volusia County may soon get off with a fine instead of time in the slammer.
The Volusia County Council is considering a proposal during today’s meeting to treat marijuana possession violators similar to those who break traffic laws.
VCC District 2 Representative Josh Wagner – who proposed the idea during a council meeting last year – says he wants to give local law enforcement the option of a civil citation and a fine for those caught with less than 20 grams of cannabis, with the money to remain in the hands of local government.
The $100 fine proposed by county staff is the maximum allowed under law for a misdemeanor. It would only apply to the beach and those parts of the county that are unincorporated, all of which are patrolled by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Cities could have the option to opt in, however.
The Democrat argued that it made sense to do this so the court docket wouldn’t remain “flooded” with such cases and because most of those who are convicted are already paying money to cover the fines and court costs.
Wagner also felt that decriminalizing marijuana in this manner would help lots more people get jobs because they won’t have to put on a job application that they’ve been arrested or convicted for marijuana possession.
Other Florida counties – namely Miami-Dade and Palm Beach – have a similar policy in place.
Florida law currently charges anyone with possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana with a misdemeanor that is punishable by jail time.
Copyright 2016 Southern Stone Communications.