I have always been a fan of local marijuana politics. That’s not to say that I’m not a fan of state and federal politics, because I am, but local politics has a special place in my nerdy public policy heart. I have always said that local efforts are vital to the reform movement because local victories add up. If you can’t win at the state level, try winning at the county and/or city level. Every local victory helps build momentum towards a statewide victory.
Florida is a great example of that. More and more municipalities are choosing to decriminalize personal marijuana possession. Yesterday the Orlando City Council took an initial vote on a marijuana decriminalization measure. The measure was approved by a narrow margin. Per the Orlando Sentinel:
Orlando moved a major step closer to effectively decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana on Monday, when the City Council narrowly backed a measure that would allow officers to issue tickets to some people caught with the drug.
Commissioners voted 4-3 to approve the ordinance, which would make possession of 20 grams (about two-thirds of an ounce) or less a violation of city code carrying a $ 50 fine for first-time offenders.
A final vote is scheduled for May 9th. If it passes, decriminalization would take effect immediately. If you live in Orlando, now is the time to contact your City Council members. Let them know that arresting people for marijuana is a waste of tax payer dollars, and ruins lives. No one deserves to be arrested for cannabis. Period.