Florida lawmaker introduces new cannabis decriminalization bill

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Representative Dotie Joseph has a new way to target marijuana reform

There is currently a list of illicit drugs that a Florida legislator wants to decriminalize through a bill he introduced last week in addition to seeking to promote harm reduction services and provide avenues of relief for those who currently have existing drug-related convictions, including marijuana.

Titled the “Collateral Consequences of Convictions and Decriminalization of Cannabis and All Drugs Act,” the legislation was introduced exactly one week ago by Representative Dotie Joseph. When it comes to marijuana, the law states that possession of up to one ounce would be a non-criminal violation usually punishable by a $50 fine, rather than being considered a misdemeanor. The same non-criminal penalty would apply when it comes to the delivery of up to one ounce of marijuana.

All those who were previously convicted of cannabis-related offenses would become eligible for automatic expungement, as long as more than one year has passed since the arrest took place. The bill goes on to state that the legislature “intends to prioritize health rehabilitation intervention rather than criminalization for the personal use of controlled substances, including, but not limited to, stimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, heroin, fentanyl, depressants or benzodiazepines, and other controlled addictive substances.”

In addition to this, the state health department is asked to study different and more effective ways to make drug addiction an issue to be addressed rather than criminalized. The department will be required to submit a report on its findings to the governor and legislative leaders before the end of next year.