The City Commission of Key West, Florida has agreed to decriminalize marijuana in the county. They follow a number of other counties, including the largest in Florida, that have recently softened their stance on cannabis.
The new law would punish possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis with a $100 fine, akin to a speeding ticket. This is a change from the prior laws, which could place Key West cannabis offenders in jail for up to a year.
Key West residents are expecting a major reduction in drug enforcement costs, but that’s likely an afterthought to a city that’s already doing pretty well for itself. More importantly, they’ll be sending a strong message along with the other Florida counties that have already passed similar laws: the current punishments for marijuana are extreme and a waste of resources.
It’s a positive step for a state that’s still struggling to make up its mind on cannabis. A medical marijuana bill was struck down earlier this year, though they did pass a CBD bill in 2014 for a limited group of patients.
There are no plans for a state-wide legalization bill, and the few medical advocacy groups willing to fight in Florida are struggling to get their message out. United for Care has launched a campaign to revive the medical marijuana bill that was pulled in May. Registered Florida voters who support medical marijuana in the state can sign the new petition here.