Florida Lawmaker Backs Cannabis Decriminalization Bill


Florida Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) is backing legislation that would reduce criminal penalties for the possession of certain amounts of cannabis and make first-time minor offenders eligible for civil citations or diversion programs, according to WFTS, a local ABC News affiliate.

Under current law, the possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis is a first-degree misdemeanor, the news outlet reported, but many Florida cities and counties have granted law enforcement the option to issue a civil citation for the possession of 20 grams or less.

Jones aims to create a more uniform approach with his bill.

“We have a chance to be consistent with what counties and cities are doing to ensure that we are doing everything we can to unclog our criminal justice system,” Jones told WFTS.

State lawmakers reconvene Jan. 14 to kick off the 2020 legislative session.

Meanwhile, Regulate Florida and Make It Legal Florida have been collecting signatures for petitions that would place two separate adult-use cannabis legalization initiatives on the state’s 2020 ballot. Regulate Florida aims to broadly legalize adult-use, while Make It Legal Florida’s proposal would allow only the dispensaries currently selling medical cannabis in the state to serve a broader adult-use market.

Make It Legal Florida announced in November that it had submitted nearly 390,000 signed petitions to Supervisors of Elections for validation.