Florida Representative Dotie Joseph (D) filed a Invoice titled “Law on the Collateral Consequences of Convictions and Decriminalization of Cannabis and All Drugs”, which would decriminalize all currently illicit drugs, provide remedies for those convicted of drug-related offenses and promote reduction services harm.
For cannabis in particular, this would make possession of up to an ounce a non-criminal offense punishable by a fine of $ 50, rather than a misdemeanor. It would apply the same non-criminal sanction to the delivery of up to an ounce of marijuana. Those previously convicted of these cannabis-related offenses would be eligible for automatic expungement if more than a year has passed since the date of arrest.
The bill “seeks to prioritize rehabilitation interventions rather than criminalizing the personal use of controlled substances, including, but not limited to stimulants, including cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, etc. ‘heroin, fentanyl, depressants or benzodiazepines and other controlled substances causing dependence’.
In addition, crimes “associated with personal use and possession of controlled substances that do not involve production, distribution or sale must be decriminalized in favor of civil fines and referral for drug rehab.”
The legislation would further require the state’s health department to study “more effective methods of combating drug addiction rather than criminalizing.”
Regarding the collateral consequences of drug convictions, Joseph proposes a change in prosecution policy where those arrested for drug offenses are explicitly made aware of the possible repercussions on housing and employment, student financial aid and voting rights.