Saturday, September 30, 2023

Florida Lawmaker: Decriminalize Illicit Drugs, Lower Cannabis Penalties

The legislation also demands that Florida’s health department research more effective methods of addressing drug addiction in lieu of criminalizing.

By Nina Zdinjak

Florida representative Dotie Joseph (D) submitted a legislative proposal “Collateral Consequences of Convictions and Decriminalization of Cannabis and All Drugs Act” recently, in an effort to decriminalize all currently illegal drugs, reported Marijuana Moment.

Under the bill, anyone with a criminal record for past cannabis-related offenses would be eligible for an automatic expungement within a year since the arrest and cannabis possession of up to one ounce would be considered a non-criminal violation punishable with a $50 fine, instead of a misdemeanor offense. Marijuana delivery of up to an ounce will be treated the same way.

war on drugs
Photo by Rattankun Thongbun/Getty Images

The proposal “intends the prioritization of rehabilitative health intervention in lieu of criminalization for personal usage of controlled substances, including but is not limited to stimulants including cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, heroin, fentanyl, depressants or benzodiazepines, and other addictive controlled substance.”

Furthermore, the bill notes that offenses “associated with the personal usage and possession of controlled substances that do not involve production, distribution or sale shall be decriminalized in favor of civil fines and referral for drug rehabilitation.”

RELATED: What US Government Could Learn From Oregon’s New Drug Decriminalization Law

The bill’s goal is to promote the health and public safety of Florida residents and to use revenues to support education, improve substance abuse prevention and treatment, among other things.

The legislation also demands that Florida’s health department research “more effective methods of addressing drug addiction in lieu of criminalizing.”

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.


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