St Petersburg, Florida Marijuana Civil Citation Program
April 28, 2016April 28, 2016 | | 0 Comment | 11:10 pm
Pinellas County Marijuana Defense Attorneys may soon be out of work. St Petersburg, Florida reviewed the current status of Pinellas County efforts to move towards a diversion program as opposed to an ordinance and recommended the proposed Marijuana Civil Citation Program Ordinance move to a First Reading after review and discussion. Meanwhile, Pinellas County Commissioners continue to delay implementing decriminalization of Cannabis.
St Petersburg, Florida City Attorney, Mark Winn, presented a proposed ordinance that makes possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis or paraphernalia a City Code violation. He discussed that this will allow officers the discretion to utilize this non-criminal option instead of charging someone with a misdemeanor.
Under the proposed Marijuana Civil Citation Program, the Chief of Police would need to establish written standard operating procedures to guide officers in its use and to provide for consistency. The Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office indicated a preference for a countywide ordinance for ease of enforcement and reports that a diversion program was being created to address this same issue.
Discussion was held regarding implementation of an education, therapeutic or assessment component after the second or third citation, how these citations might affect an individual’s status in obtaining or remaining in public housing, whether there should be a community service component, whether the number of times a person was cited should be limited, what are the parameters of the officer discretion (e.g. whether this is an option if another offense is being charged), should this option be available for other minor offenses, and review of citation data at a six or twelve month interval.
A St. Petersburg City Council member made a motion to request Legal return to the Committee with a second draft incorporating the summarized comments and forward the current draft with these minutes to the appropriate officials with Pinellas County. All members of the City of Petersburg, Public Services & Infrastructure Committee at the Meeting on March 31, 2016 were in favor of the motion.
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