Starting today, Tampa implemented the new marijuana ordinance. There have been a lot of questions about how it will be enforced and what exactly the citation all entails. I explained the ins and outs of the ordinance, and how it can possibly impact people who live outside of Tampa, to Fox 13.
It still remains unclear how the courts will handle people outside city limits who are arrested and charged with possession. We’ll have to see how cases are handled in the future.
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I wrote about the ordinance when it was first passed and have spoken with the Tampa City attorney about the new ordinance to get more of an understanding of it and how it will impact people in Tampa.
I was also able to get a copy of the Tampa Police Department’s legal bulletin and the new Standard Operating Procedure that was sent to police officers. Here are some of the more important details when it comes to Tampa PD’s interpretation of the ordinance:
Effective April 1, 2016 we are instituting a civil citation procedure applicable to certain cases where a citizen is found to be in possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana. Instead of arrest, the civil citation will be issued only when:
- The amount of marijuana possessed is 20 grams or less;
- The subject is 18 years of age or older;
- No other criminal charges are applicable from the same incident;
- The subject is qualified for release on his own recognizance; and
- The subject has no prior unpaid civil citation.
The bottom line, which I’ve stressed before, is you have a previous civil citation, pay your citation. Seriously, pay it. Otherwise, you don’t qualify to get another civil citation and you could possibly be charged for marijuana possession.