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Monroe County Joins Keys in Reducing Marijuana Possession Penalties

Florida Keys Marijuana

With Florida’s medical marijuana initiative passing this November, Monroe County has decided to join the Florida Keys by increasing the amount of marijuana that residents can carry without penalty. A hearing was held last week that quickly approved the non-criminal violation possession amount from 5 grams to 20 grams. This request came directly from the county Sheriff, Rick Ramsay.

So far, Key West, Marathon and Islamorada have similar legislation allowing between 20 grams and ¾ of an ounce of marijuana without penalty, according to FL Keys News. This new ordinance passed without any public opposition and with a unanimous panel vote. The law must be certified by the state before it becomes law.

Bob Shillinger, County Attorney said, “The sheriff has weighed in and asked us to change the 5 grams to 20 so that would be the same as the state statute.”

Commissioner Sylvia Murphy jokingly laughed as Shillinger said, “An anonymous source called and told me that a weekend’s worth [of marijuana] is about a quarter of 20 grams.” Murphy replied with, “OK, whatever.”

Police officers have the discretion to arrest or provide civil warning to those breaking state law, resisting a police officer, sales, or those with prior drug convictions. Civil infractions may result in a $100 fine, but will keep simple marijuana possession charges from being on a criminal record.