Tallahassee City Commissioner calls for decriminalization of marijuana

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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 1, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- In the wake of the state attorney's decision not to prosecute possession of marijuana cases, one Tallahassee City commissioner is making a push for decriminalization.

Commissioner Jeremy Matlow posted on Facebook on Wednesday, writing "it's time for the City of Tallahassee to cease petty marijuana-related arrests and formally decriminalize by ordinance."

Matlow is currently out of the country, but WCTV spoke with him over FaceTime. He said he wants local communities to get on the same page regarding the issue.

Other localities that have decriminalized quantities up to 20 grams include Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach County.

Penalties in those areas include cite and release, civil citations, and $100 fines.

The Tallahassee Police Department said in a statement that it will continue investigating suspected marijuana cases, and will seize the evidence for potential prosecution if probable cause is established.

"I think it's important that we're sending the right message," said Matlow. "We don't want people to see the state attorney's decision and think they can't get arrested when they still can, because we have bigger crime issues to deal with in the City of Tallahassee and that's what we should be focused on."

City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox said the issue is cloudy, and she is unsure of her stance. She said she will support what the community wants.

City Commissioner Elaine Bryant said she believes it's a topic for discussion, and wants to work with the State Attorney. She also questioned the ability of the City to decriminalize.

Commissioner Matlow said he intends to speak with the City Manager and the City Attorney, and formally discuss the issue at the next City Commission meeting in September.

Leon County staff is also preparing an agenda item on the subject for its September meeting.

The City of Jacksonville is also currently considering decriminalization.

Below is the full list of Florida localities that have decriminalized up to 20 grams of marijuana, according to the NORML website.

Alachua County
Broward County
Cocoa Beach
Hallandale Beach
Key West
Miami Beach
Miami-Dade County
Orlando
Osceola County
Palm Beach County
Port Richey
Tampa
Volusia
West Palm Beach County