The city of Sarasota, Fla. is one step closer to decriminalizing marijuana, per a recent report. This week, city commissioners discussed making possession of cannabis a civil citation, rather than a crime.

The following is a re-post of an article written by Emily Kinzer of ABC 7 WWSB (Sarasota, Fla.)

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) – The city of Sarasota is one step closer to decriminalizing marijuana.

Sarasota City Commissioners voted 5-0 Monday night for the Cannabis Civil Citation during its first reading. The proposed ordinance would make it a civil offense if someone is caught with 20 grams or less of marijuana and/or drug paraphernalia.

Under Florida state law, it is currently a misdemeanor. Through this measure, instead of police making an arrest, they could issue a $100 fine or 10 hours of community service that could be done in lieu of paying the fine.

Joe Mladinich is the Assistant City Attorney for Sarasota and said this would spare someone from a criminal record.

“It’s a lessened penalty and I think it’s reflection of changing attitudes towards cannabis and marijuana statewide and nationwide,” said Mladinich.

The citation could only be used once per person on someone at least 18 years old.

The ordinance will be up for its second reading in the future.

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