4 Your Info: Questions answered about decriminalizing pot

Councilman's proposal would make carrying small amounts punishable by $100 fine

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many of you had questions about the divisive topic of decriminalizing marijuana, something a Jacksonville City Council member has proposed doing here.

The legislation proposed by City Council member Garrett Dennis would make the penalty for carrying less than 20 grams of pot a $100 fine or 10 hours of customer service. Currently, it's a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum penalty of up to a year behind bars and a fine up to $1,000.

Here are some of the questions you asked us:

Q: How will these changes impact those who sell the drug (marijuana)? Will this result in a lesser charge or a fine for them also?

A: The legislation would not impact people who sell drugs in the state of Florida. Having said that, it's still illegal to do so, and the penalty for selling drugs would remain the same.

Q: Would you have court costs associated with the citation?

A: There would be no court costs. Just like when you receive a traffic ticket, if you pay the fine, that's it. In other words, the fine would just be the $100 citation under the proposal.

Q:  Is there going to be an age requirement?

A: Yes, there would be an age requirement under the proposal. People caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana would receive a fine if they are age 18 or over. For anyone under 18, it would still be a misdemeanor offense.

The bill does not have the support of Sheriff Mike Williams, who said he sees no need for local legislation on the issue. Still, a University of North Florida poll found broad public support for it.

Dennis' office announced plans Wednesday to hold a series of meetings throughout the city to hear from the community. Here's when they'll take place:

  • July 27: 10:30 a.m. at the South Mandarin Library, 12125 San Jose Boulevard
  • July 29: 6:00 p.m. at the Bennie Furlon Senior Center, 281 19th Avenue S
  • July 30: 6:00 p.m. at the Legends Center, 5130 Soutel Drive
  • Aug. 5: 6:30 p.m. at the Webb Wesconnett Library, 6887 103rd Street

Keep those questions coming. Head here to ask us something yourself!

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