On March 17, 2016 the City Council of Tampa joined the growing state and national trend to decriminalize possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis in limited circumstances. This was done by voting to enact City Code § 14-62, which created a civil penalty for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis. This code allows for City of Tampa Police Officers to issue citations and fines to people who meet the established criteria and possess less than 20 grams of cannabis. One of the goals of the new City Code is to reduce the nearly 1,900 arrests made by the Tampa Police Department for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis in 2015 while also taking note of the negative impact and arrest can have on a person’s life.
The Tampa Police Department has informed its officers that in order for them to issue a civil citation for instead of making an arrest for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis the person must (1) be over the age of 18, (2) be facing no other criminal charges related to the possession, (3) must be meet the requirement of release on their own recognizance, (4) and have no history unpaid civil citations.
If you are issued a civil citation you will be fined $75 for the first time, $150 for the second time, $300 for the third time and $450 every time after that, plus you will lose your cannabis, because the police will seize it.
Meeting all of these requirements does not mean you will not be arrested for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis. You can still be arrested and charged with a 1st degree misdemeanor, which could cost you up to 1 year in jail, a $10,000 fine and loss of your driver’s license.
If you are arrested or issued a Notice to Appear for possession of cannabis know that Taracks & Associates has more than 40 years of experience in assisting clients with navigating the court system and limiting the penalties of an arrest. Contact Taracks & Associates or call 813-281-2897 to see learn how our 40 plus years of experience can help you.