Pubdate: Tue, 08 Sep 2015
Source: Tampa Bay Times (FL)
Copyright: 2015 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Paul Armentano
Page: A10

Re: Sept. 3, John Romano column


Kudos to columnist John Romano for acknowledging that it is long past
time to correct Florida's 'ill-advised anti-marijuana crusade.'

No other state routinely punishes minor marijuana infractions more
severely than Florida. Under state law, marijuana possession of 20
grams or less (about two-thirds of an ounce) is a criminal misdemeanor
punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

Marijuana possession over 20 grams, as well as the cultivation of even a 
single pot plant, are defined by law as felony offenses - punishable by 
up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Annually, an estimated 
60,000 Floridians are arrested for possessing marijuana, the 
third-highest total of any state.

Decriminalization, as has been enacted in various Florida localities,
will save taxpayers money and allow police and the courts to
reprioritize their resources toward addressing more serious crimes.

Minor marijuana possession offenders, many of them young people,
should not be saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong
penalties and stigma associated with it.

Paul Armentano, deputy director, National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws(NORML), Washington, D.C.
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