Dozens of citations doled out since decriminalization of marijuana in Tampa

AP file photo

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – In March, the City of Tampa passed an ordinance that would lessen the punishment for possessing marijuana within city limits and now, News Channel 8 is getting a look at just how many citations have been given out and where they were issued.

As of Monday, 63 citations were given out since April 1st. Before the ordinance, people were charged with a misdemeanor if caught with 20 grams or less or marijuana. You could face jail time or the loss of your license.

Now, those caught with 20 grams or less of pot will instead pay a citation – almost like getting a traffic ticket. People caught with 20 grams or less of marijuana will face a lesser punishment.

Under the measure, people who possess 20 grams or less of marijuana will be issued a $75 citation for the first offense and a $150 citation for the second offense. Citations will be $300 or more for additional offenses.

Using data obtained from Tampa Police, News Channel 8 has created a map showing where all of those citations were issued. They are spread out across the city, so we took a closer look at some individual citations and found the majority were issued during traffic stops. Another interesting pattern Tampa police have noticed? Folks are rushing in to pay their citations almost immediately, even though they have 30 days to pay up. “People are pretty quick to pay, which means the word got out,” said Tampa Police spokesperson, Steve Hegarty.

Only three citations were given out on 4/20, a date infamous in the “world of weed”. The most citations given out on any given day was six and those dates include Thursday, April 7, Tuesday April 12 and Friday, April 15.

MAP: Civil citations for marijuana-related violations

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