How Jacksonville is changing the stigma around marijuana

Erik Feliciano

In recent years, the use of marijuana has slowly become a more accepted practice. States such as Colorado, California and Washington have even gone to the lengths of legalizing it outright for recreational use.

In Florida, many cities are beginning to hop on the train of destigmatizing the use of marijuana. With medical use of the substance being legalized and talks of recreational use being thrown around, the next city that seems ready to destigmatize the use may be Jacksonville.

Jacksonville City Council Member Garrett Dennis proposed a bill allowing first time offenders found with 20 grams or less of marijuana to receive a citation and pay a $100 fine, or serve 10 hours of community service. Currently, possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana means you could face a misdemeanor charge and up to a year in jail, as well as a $1000 fine. If passed, Dennis’ bill will lessen the criminalization of marijuana possession.

Other cities in Florida have passed similar where you could pay anywhere between $75 to $100 for the possession of marijuana for a first time offense, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The office of city Council Member Garrett Dennis has announced that it plans to hold a series of meetings to further discussion on the move. So far, there have been three meeting with one more scheduled for August 5th at 6:30 p.m. at the Webb Wesconnett Library, 6887 103rd Street.

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So why does this matter?

As states move closer to full legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use, degrees in related study become abundantly more available. Although it’s not for sure, we could be seeing these changes here at UNF with the possibility of degrees in medical marijuana opening up in the Brooks College of Health.

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