Hallandale Beach Might Fine Marijuana Users Rather Than Arrest Them

Hallandale Beach might be following in Miami-Dade’s footsteps to have anyone busted with marijuana possession to have to pay a fine rather than get arrested. That is, if Commissioner Keith London gets his way.

Just last week, Miami-Dade commissioners heard from residents and public defenders about an ordinance that would have police issue fines to anyone caught with a specific amount of weed rather than arrest them. Commissioners then voted on an initial approval of the ordinance, which will go to a final vote at the end of the month.

Commissioners who approved the ordinance say the fines would ease taxpayers' burden, and Miami-Dade Police have backed the idea. Miami Beach commissioners, meanwhile, have also given preliminary approval.

London, meanwhile, says a similar ordinance should be passed in Hallandale Beach for the same reasons.

And Hallandale Beach commissioners agreed, saying they’ll take up the proposal in a formal vote at a future meeting.

“If it’s good enough for Miami Beach, why isn’t it good enough for Hallandale?” London asked during a City Hall meeting Monday evening. London argued that state law won’t be affected but that the ordinance would give police some discretion, allowing them to decide if someone caught with weed should be arrested or simply face a fine.

Some, like Hallandale Beach Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy, want the proposal to be examined further before coming to a final decision. While Flournoy said that pot arrests tend to needlessly clog up courts, there are still some questions that need to be addressed, such as how someone with a criminal record is fined compared to someone without a record.

Miami-Dade County commissioners and Miami Beach commissioners passed initial ordinances that would make misdemeanor marijuana possession a civil offense, with a $100 fine.

Should Hallandale Beach pass a similar ordinance, it would be the first city in Broward County to do so.

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