Across the country, cities and states have taken measures to relax marijuana rules. Just last year, the Florida state legislature passed the Charlotte’s Web law allowing the sale of marijuana for certain medical uses.
In Florida, police officers have two options when confronting a suspect with 20 grams or less of marijuana – arrest, or confiscate the contraband and release the suspect with a warning.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, we will consider a new policy that gives a third “in-between” option – a citation for a violation of a City code. This option is not as harsh as an arrest, which can result in jail time and the possibility of a life-long criminal record, but still holds the offender responsible for their behavior.
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As part of our commitment to providing opportunities for all residents, the City has youth programs aimed at providing academic enrichment, mentoring and job training to at-risk youth. Sometimes, because of youthful mistakes, these young people enter the criminal justice system for possessing a small amount of marijuana.
With an arrest record, it becomes more challenging for them to get a job, join the military or get financial aid for continuing their education.
Understanding how challenging it can be for ex-offenders to get jobs is why through our Blueprint Employee Office we have focused on employing ex-offenders during the construction of our community venues. I am proud to report that through the program, more than 1,000 ex-offenders have received jobs.
This change in policy will help us protect the futures of our young people while allowing our Orlando Police Department officers to dedicate time and resources to preventing more serious crimes.
– Buddy Dyer, Mayor