Miami Beach voters might just get a chance this year to decriminalize pot. If the measure is approved, it would become the first city in South Florida to let small-time tokers off the hook with a $100 fine instead of criminal charges. That's because Sensible Florida, a legalization group we wrote about last year, says it has collected more than double the number of signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot.
The group says it will present 9,000 signatures at Miami Beach City Hall tomorrow. Time to celebrate! Where's our iHit?
"It's a great day for the the marijuana legalization movement in Florida," the group's chairman, Ford Banister, says in a press release the group just sent out. "For the first time, Florida voters will soon decide a marijuana related question."
That's assuming at least 4,300 of the group's 9,000 signatures check out. If they do, the petitions will trigger a city-wide vote on the issue.
Bannister's group is staging a rally at Miami Beach City Hall tomorrow, starting at ... 4:20 p.m., of course!
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They'll ask the city commission to vote for a resolution supporting the petition.
Cocaine Cowboys producer Alfred Spellman, who contributed to the group's efforts, tells The Miami Herald the petition gives Beach residents a chance to reject the War on Drugs.
"Is it in the public interest to arrest, detain and process somebody in the system for small amounts of marijuana? Is that what we want cops, prosecutors and investigators to be focusing on?" he said.