Miami Beach unanimously passes marijuana ordinance

Police to have option to issue $100 fine for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana


MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach commissioners unanimously passed a marijuana ordinance Wednesday to fine those caught with small amounts of marijuana instead of sending them to jail.

The move comes a week after Miami-Dade commissioners passed a similar ordinance.

Under the new law, police will have the option of issuing a $100 fine to those caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana. The difference between the Miami-Dade County ordinance is that the fines collected in Miami Beach will go to the city and not the county.

"We don't want marijuana smoking on the streets. That's still illegal," Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine told Local 10 News at a commission meeting last month. "It's illegal to distribute or sell any marijuana or anything like that. But if someone's caught with under 20 grams, we don't want to ruin their lives."

Commissioners voted 5-0 in favor of the ordinance, which goes into effect in 10 days.

The Miami Beach Police Department said the ordinance will save the city about $40,000 in costs associated with the arrest and prosecution of possession cases.

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