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
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. Beyond that, cops still have the power to forfeit a vehicle used during the commission of cannabis offenses.
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.
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|
Complete Text of Tampa Cannabis Ordinance
ORDINANCE NO. 2016-__
Sec. 14-62. Possession of cannabis or paraphernalia.
(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
Tampa, Florida Marijuana Cannabis Ordinance
http://www.tampagov.net/sites/default/files/planning/files/supp_81/supp_81_ch14_9_10_13.pdfbr /> http://www.tampagov.net/