Hallandale Beach Decriminalizes Marijuana Possesion

FLORIDA:  Hallandale Beach is officially the first city in Broward County that will punish marijuana violations with a fine instead of an arrest.

On Wednesday night, Hallandale Beach Commissioners unanimously approved a new measure that will make marijuana possession a civil offense rather than a criminal one. Anyone caught with 20 grams of pot or less will be fined $100 rather than be arrested.

The law is expected to go into effect on September 19. In the meantime, the Hallandale Beach Police Department will train officers on how the new measure works. Hallandale Beach follows Miami-Dade’s footsteps in passing the measure. In July, Miami-Dade passed a measure that will allow Miami cops the option to issue a citation to anyone caught with 20 grams or less of marijuana. Miami-Dade’s new law will also fine a person $100 rather than arresting them.

 

“Medical Necessity” Defense In Marijuana Cases Still A Battle In Florida, But More Victories Possible

FLORIDA:  When a Broward County jury ruled that 50-year-old Jesse Teplicki was not guilty of growing marijuana earlier this month because his need for medical cannabis outweighed the crime of actually growing the still illegal plant, cannabis reformers rejoiced. The victory meant a precedent was set and more victories cold follow.

But arguing the “medical necessity” defense in Florida has been difficult – and still is, despite the widespread acceptance of marijuana as a medicine.

“Most of the time, prosecutors have not heard of this type of defense,” says Michael Minardi, Teplick’s defense attorney. Minardi has been defending marijuana cases since 2009 and has attempted the medical necessity defense on several occasions, but was often shut down.

“I have to educate them about the defense,” he says. “And judges have refused because they show a bias against this type of defense.”