No arrest for marijuana possession in Orlando? Well, not quite, but the laws are easing up.
Beginning October 1, police in Orlando will have the option to give people caught with 20 grams or less a fine instead of arresting them. The fine for first offenders is $100, an eight-hour substance abuse program or eight hours of community service.
This isn’t a guarantee though, so don’t act invincible on your next trip down for a visit. The police still have the final discretion if you’re caught with anything. Arguing with the officer while wearing your “Legalize It” t-shirt is still probably not in your best interest.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer believes the ordinance will help prevent, “… the harsh consequences of making an arrest that can result in a lifelong criminal record.” Adding, “This can help us protect the futures of children.” Collected fines will help supplement privately backed substance abuse education programs in the area. This comes shortly before Florida residents vote on a medical marijuana amendment in November.
Orlando now joins the growing list of Florida cities to ease their laws on marijuana possession, alongside places like Tampa, Orlando and Key West, but the question is, will we see this trend creep into North Florida?