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The city of Key West is joining the ranks of South Florida municipalities where possession of small amounts of marijuana is treated as a civil code violation, not a criminal act.

On Tuesday, the city commission unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow police officers discretion to cite people with less than 20 grams of marijuana, rather than charge them with a misdemeanor. The citation would carry a $100 fine.

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The Monroe Board of County Commissioners Wednesday told the county attorney to move forward with an ordinance that would allow police officers to give a civil citation, instead of a misdemeanor criminal charge, to people caught with small amounts of marijuana.

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Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, could soon follow Miami-Dade's lead in allowing civil citations for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The measure would allow police officers discretion on whether to arrest someone on a misdemeanor charge or give them a civil citation, which can result in a fine. The Miami-Dade ordinance, which was approved last month, applies to possession of 20 grams of pot or less.

Wikipedia Commons

The Miami-Dade County commission voted Tuesday to allow civil penalties for certain misdemeanors, including possession of drug paraphernalia and up to 20 grams of marijuana.

Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald reports: 

Miami-Dade commissioners voted Tuesday to let police treat marijuana possession the same way they do littering and loitering — issuing a civil citation with a $100 fine that keeps the offense out of the criminal system.


A 23-year-old Miami man faces three felony counts and a misdemeanor charge after Monroe County Sheriff's Office detectives say he offered to sell "medicinal high grade top shelf" marijuana on Craigslist.

Keys detectives saw the listing on the online classifieds website. The post also included "a picture of a green leafy substance that appeared to be cannabis," according to Deputy Becky Herrin, spokeswoman for the Monroe Sheriff's Office.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:


A product made from cannabis could become one of Florida’s top crops: A bill in Tallahassee would allow Florida farmers to grow hemp.

Robert Clayton finished construction last year on a house made of hemp in Tarpon Springs. It’s thought to be the first of its kind in Florida. He testified at a Senate hearing about his research for the Hemp Industries Association.

More than 115,000 District of Columbia residents voted in favor of a marijuana legalization ballot initiative in November, putting 70 percent of the city's voters behind the measure that permits residents to possess up to 2 ounces of pot and grow their own.

The state government and the marijuana industry in Colorado are working to educate people about how to use pot safely. But in the high Rockies, one community is taking matters into its own hands.

The local sheriff in Aspen is leading an education effort that targets skiers and snowboarders flocking to the winter resort. And the sheriff isn't waiting until visitors hit the slopes — their education starts at the airport with pamphlets on marijuana.

State Department

Last week, voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia became the latest to approve legalizing marijuana use. They join Colorado and Washington state.

That movement conflicts with federal law, which still says pot is illegal. And it poses a foreign policy challenge for Washington, since it complicates the message the United States conveys to other nations about the drug war. That's especially true in Latin America, where Uruguay this year became the first country to legalize pot.