May 1, 2016

Tampa Cannabis Decriminalized - Complete Text of Tampa Cannabis Ordinance

"Many of the citations issued are on or near major highways, 
leading us to believe they may be associated 
with traffic stops and searches."

UPDATE May 1, 2016

Decriminalization of Cannabis in Tampa has generated some data on where the citations are being issued. We just obtained a map showing the locations of the first batch of citations issued in the new City of Tampa Marijuana Citation law. Many of the citations issued are on or near major highways, leading us to believe they may be associated with traffic stops and searches. The information about each detention for alleged marijuana ordinance violations can be found by clicking on the red pins on the cannabis ordinance violation map.



Map of Tampa Marijuana / Cannabis Citations Issued


The City of Tampa Florida, has just passed an ordinance decriminalizing possession of cannabis (less than 20 grams). Hash oil and derivatives are still felonies. The complete text of the new cannabis ordinance is below. The short version: Fines; For a first offense $75.00; For a second offense $150.00; For a third offense $300.00; For a fourth or subsequent offense $450.00.

UPDATE April 8, 2016

Tampa Bay area law enforcement and the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office have notified at least one media source that arrests and prosecutions for cannabis will continue for those arrested by anyone other than the Tampa Police Department. So, for example a fan arrested at Tampa Stadium by a Hillsborough County Sheriff or a Florida Highway Patrol State Trooper will still be prosecuted, even though the stadium is inside the Tampa City Limits.

UPDATE April 1, 2016

Today the new law takes effect. But, Tampa Police Department Attorney Kirby Rainsberger says that civil citations will be issued ONLY when the suspect is not a minor; there are no other criminal charges; suspect can be released on own recognizance; and the suspect has no unpaid fines. Check out The Tampa Tribune Marijuana story here. The Mayor of Tampa's comments and a History of the Marijuana Ordinance is here.

 "doesn't make us any less anti-drug, but it's a realization 
that the penalties that have been imposed have done 
more damage to the trajectories of young peoples' 
lives than the offenses have warranted."

Mayor Bob Buckhorn

Why Didn't Tampa Repeal Its Marijuana Forfeiture Law?


Tampa did not change its forfeiture ordinance, so expect police to be financially motivated to continue misdemeanor marijuana busts. The City council did not repeal Tampa City Ordinance 14-30. The Tampa law provides that it is a violation of this section and a motor vehicle shall be subject to impoundment whenever the vehicle was used, intended, or attempted to be used to facilitate the commission or attempted commission of any misdemeanor violation of F.S. Ch. 893 (Florida's Drug Law). See Video at the bottom of this article.

Tampa Remains the King of Marijuana Forfeitures


One media source has reported "No law enforcement agency in West/Central Florida seizes more vehicles under Florida's Contraband Forfeiture Act than the Tampa Police Department. And half of the 1,500 vehicles it seizes annually are either kept for agency use or turned into cash, either through settlements with the original owner or through sale at auction." The source reported "Tampa city ordinance 14-30 sets a flat $500 fee to get a vehicle back after a misdemeanor arrest, regardless of what happens to the charges. The city reports collecting the fee more than 500 times last year."

Tampa Cannabis Decriminalized, Tampa Cannabis Ordinance
Tampa Cannabis Decriminalized
Complete Text of Tampa Cannabis Ordinance


ORDINANCE NO. 2016-__

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF TAMPA, FLORIDA, CREATING TAMPA CODE SECTION 14-62 MAKING POSSESSION OF TWENTY GRAMS OR LESS OF CANNABIS UNLAWFUL, MAKING POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA AS DEFINED HEREIN UNLAWFUL, PROVIDING FOR CIVIL PENALTIES, AMENDING TAMPA CODE SECTION 23.5-5 TO SPECIFY THE AMOUNT OF CIVIL FINE FOR VIOLATION, AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE. 

WHEREAS, Florida Statute Subsection 893.13(6)(b) provides that the possession of twenty (20) grams or less of cannabis (marijuana), intended only for consumption of the possessor, is a misdemeanor criminal offense; and

WHEREAS. Florida Statute Subsection 893.147(1) provides that the possession of
drug paraphernalia as defined in Florida Statute Section 893.145 is a misdemeanor criminal offense; and

WHEREAS, the Tampa City Council finds that particularly where the citizen's only
known offense at the time of arrest is possession for personal use of a small amount of cannabis, or paraphernalia for administration thereof, criminal penalties and potentially lifelong criminal record are disproportionate to the severity of the offense; and

WHEREAS, the Tampa City Council finds that established civil penalties and
procedures are more commensurate with the offense of possession of twenty grams or less of cannabis or paraphernalia when that is the only chargeable offense.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF TAMPA, FLORIDA:

Section 1. That Tampa Code Section 14-62 is hereby created to read in its entirety as follows:


Sec. 14-62. Possession of cannabis or paraphernalia.


(a) Definitions.

(1)  Cannabis means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not and the seeds thereof. The tern does not include the resin or oil extracted from any part of the plant or "'low-THC cannabis" as defined in Florida Statute § 381.986 if manufactured, possessed. sold, purchased, delivered, distributed, and dispensed in conformance with § 381.986.

(2)  Paraphernalia means any object used, intended for use, or designed for use, in ingesting, inhaling, smoking, or otherwise introducing cannabis into the human body.

(b)  Any person who possesses twenty (20) grams or less of cannabis as defined herein except as otherwise authorized by law commits a violation of this subsection.

(c)  Any person who possesses paraphernalia as defined herein except as otherwise authorized by law commits a violation of this subsection.

(d)  A person charged with possession of cannabis under subsection (b) may not be charged with possession of paraphernalia under subsection (e) arising out of the same incident.

(e)  Penalties and Procedure


(1)  The provisions of Tampa Code Chapter 23.5 shall apply to all violations charged pursuant to this section.

(2)  Violation of this section is deemed to be an irreparable or irreversible violation punishable by civil penalty as a Class I offense.

(3)  If the applicable civil penalty is not paid within 30 days from the citation date, in addition to the procedure provided in Tampa Code Chapter 23.5 in the event of such nonpayment, the defendant will no longer be eligible for the alternative enforcement procedures provided by this section.

Section 2. That Tampa Code subsection 23.5-4(e) is hereby amended as follows:

(f)  After issuing a citation to an alleged violator, a code enforcement officer shall deposit the original and one (1) copy of the citation with the  City Attorney's Office. If the citation is not paid within thirty (30) days of the date of issuance. the City Attorney's Office shall forward the original and one (1) copy of the citation to the county court.

Section 3. That Tampa Code Subsection 23.5-5(a) is hereby amended by adding the underlined part as follows:

Sec. 23.5-5 Schedule of violations and penalties.



(a)  Violations of the following sections of the Tampa City Code are considered Class I violations and will carry a fine of:

For a first offense $75.00
For a second offense $150.00
For a third offense $300.00
For a  fourth or subsequent offense $450.00


Sources:

Tampa, Florida Marijuana Cannabis Ordinance
https://atg.tampagov.net/sirepub/meetresults.aspx?meettype=Council%20Regular&cscRedirectID=497
http://legacy.wtsp.com/story/news/investigations/2014/11/25/policing-for-profit-tampa-police-seizures/70096900/
http://www.tampagov.net/sites/default/files/planning/files/supp_81/supp_81_ch14_9_10_13.pdfbr /> http://www.tampagov.net/