Miami Beach City Attorney Says Marijuana Decriminalization Petition Doesn't Pass Legal Muster

Despite 9,000 Miami Beach citizens signing a petition to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, the city's attorney said that creating such a law is an impossibility. The attorney claims that such an action would conflict with state law.

The petition was presented to the Miami Beach City Commission back in January by the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy. The petition would force the commission to put the proposed law on a ballot to be voted on by Miami Beach citizens. The law would in effect decriminalize personal possession of marijuana. Instead of facing more serious chargers, anyone 21 years of age or older caught with less than 20 grams of pot would only be forced to pay a $100 fine. Currently Floridians caught with less than 20 grams of that sticky icky could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The national chapter of CSMP has previously spearheaded the passage of a similar state-wide law in Massachusetts back in 2008.

Last month, city attorney Jose Smith told Riptide that he hadn't even read the petition, but called it unconstitutional. Now, presumably he's had time to read it, and tells The Miami Herald he's sure it would conflict with state law.

"It's not a petition that would pass legal muster if it ever went to court," Smith told The Herald.

Based on Smith's opinion, the commission could derail the possible vote.

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