As of this writing, West Palm Beach is now offering an alternative method for people who are caught with small amounts of marijuana. While the law is not exactly supported by everybody, many people see the benefits of this method rather than jail time. A simple marijuana fine works as a way to enforce the law without having to go through a lengthy legal process.
How Does it work?
The new method is actually quite simple. Rather than cuff, jail, and fine someone for possessing under 20 grams of marijuana, now police officers can simply cite the person for $100. This type of possession will not be treated like a serious criminal offense, but instead will be handled much in the same way as a simple traffic violation. This is, hopefully, an alternative that won’t devastate an individual’s life for possession of a small amount of marijuana.
What are the Benefits?
Every year, there are thousands of arrests in association with petty marijuana possession. Most of those arrests result in jail time, fines and probation. This clogs the legal system with small-scale issues and drastically impacts people’s lives. Consider the negative effects a person must endure if they are charged with drug possession:
- Inability to find employment;
- Costly fines that cause financial strain;
- Possibility of escalating issues associated with missed court dates, probation violation, etc.;
- Difficulty finding housing; and
- Inability to pay for college.
The concern is that low-income individuals would suffer the brunt of the issues stated above. Rather than focus on incarceration or impossible fines, this alternative allows people the opportunity to pay for their offense without it costing them their entire life. Putting people in a situation where they are unable to overcome their past could potentially lead to bigger issues.
There are certainly people who do not support this approach to policing marijuana possession. However, many supporters feel that instead of focusing on incarceration, the real intent should be about rehabilitation. Additionally, taxpayers should consider how much money it costs to have each marijuana case be heard in court. Taxpayer money may better be used to create diversion programs that do not congest the legal system. Essentially, this new law could save people money, be more effective, and free up the resources of the legal system as a whole.
Want to Know More?
If you would like to know more information about this ordinance, please do not hesitate to call the Skier Law Firm, P.A. Located in West Palm Beach, Skier Law Firm stays abreast of changes on the legal scene in order to better serve our clients. We also provide free consultations for anybody who may need a criminal defense attorney for small and large-scale drug charges.