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Miami Just Banned Smoking Marijuana In Public & People Are Heated

There seems to be some high-tened anger around Miami right now.

If you’re planning a relaxing day at Miami Beach, remember to leave the THC at home. Sorry to all the Miami marijuana lovers out there, but Miami Beach commissioners passed an ordinance against public marijuana smoking.

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Despite the state legalization & decriminalization of medical marijuana and hemp in Florida, according to the Miami New Times, city commissioners voted unanimously to outlaw public smoking of marijuana and hemp in the city. Anyone caught doing so will be subjected to fines and up to 60 days in county jail.

While some Miami-Dade residents may be rejoicing, many are equally as pissed off by the news.

A large discussion thread has been started on the /r/Miami Reddit page. One user even compared the ban to sewage dumping. “But dumping sewage in the ocean is acceptable?”, the comment by user BlandstanderB read.

Miami is known for sewage water spills, in fact, there was one only a few months ago that couldn’t be contained for days .

Another Reddit user, randomfloridaman, commented “Well obviously they have to keep up their image for the tourists. Who will increasingly be coming from places where it’s legalized.”

Currently, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in over 10 US states and Washington, D.C. The map below from governing.com shows the individual states; current as of June 2019:

One particularly angry comment by ICanQuitWheneverIWant read in part, “Every time I finally settle down to cherish the Florida dream, I’m woken up by the stark reminder that Florida is controlled by embittered senior citizens and bible toting old time religion types.”

One of Florida’s most common stereotypes according to this study is, indeed, old people. While it’s not necessarily true that it’s all senior citizen’s fault for the marijuana ban, it has been discussed that the older population may be more wary of its uses and side effects. For many, they just don’t want to be subjected to second-hand smoke of any form in a public area.

Another Reddit commenter, the_lamou,
mentioned that all smokes are harmful, be it cigarette or marijuana smoke. “Fun fact – pot smoke has the same exact carcinogens as tobacco smoke! Burning any kind of cured plant matter releases toxic shit, and smoking pot has a similar impact on the lungs as smoking cigarettes, with the main difference being people don’t usually smoke the same amount of pot as tobacco.” WebMD partially confirms this information.

Whether you approve or disapprove of the ban, be sure to let your local commissioners know; be proactive in getting the laws you want passed.

If you’re planning a relaxing day at Miami Beach, remember to leave the THC at home. Sorry to all the Miami marijuana lovers out there, but Miami Beach commissioners passed an ordinance against public marijuana smoking. 

Miami Beach Commissioners Are Trying To Keep People From Smoking Pot In Public Places

Now that smoking hemp is legal across Florida, it’s causing problems for local governments who want to prohibit smoking illegal marijuana.

The substances are similar enough in chemistry and smell that recently the Miami-Dade County state attorney’s office said it will not prosecute minor pot possession cases. In Broward County, the state attorney has a new three gram minimum before his office will prosecute.

So lawmakers in Miami Beach are working on their own solution to stop smoking in the streets and on the beach.

City commissioners approved an ordinance on its first vote that would have people arrested for smoking hemp or pot in some public spaces. The ordinance still needs to pass a second vote in the city commission chambers next month before it can move forward.

If it does, violators could face a fine of up to $500 and possible jail time.

WLRN reached out to Miami Beach police to ask if there have been any arrests for smoking in the city’s streets. The police department responded in an email, saying “there have been no arrests or seizures of hemp.”

WLRN’s Caitie Switalski discussed the reasons for the ordinance and its potential implications with the local lawmaker who proposed it – Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber – on the South Florida Roundup. Here’s an excerpt of their conversation.

WLRN: Recently, the Miami-Dade County and Broward County state attorneys have changed how they’re prosecuting marijuana cases. What options do local governments have to enforce illegal pot use?

GELBER: Well, the problem is that when the state legislature legalized hemp, they inadvertently created a problem – in that, because hemp when it’s smoked, and marijuana when it’s smoked, it smells the same. And because the THC levels are close, you can’t arrest somebody now – according to both those state attorneys and other state attorneys – because they don’t know whether they’re smoking hemp or they’re smoking marijuana. So the state attorney in Dade County actually announced that they would not be prosecuting minor pot offenses. So as of right now, if you’re smoking and you’re in a public right-of-way, which is where you can’t even drink liquor, our police will not arrest you. Which is a problem, because they know that they won’t be prosecuted. So our city commission is about to address that.

You had a letter to the editor in The Miami Herald this week where you compared the situation to consuming alcohol in public spaces. Can you explain that a little bit -how this is akin to an open container law?

I mean, our open container laws say you can’t drink liquor on sidewalks, in certain places that are just open. We have open container laws in the state, and we have them in our in our city by ordinance. So what I propose to do is simply take the pot and hemp laws prohibition and just treat it exactly like open container laws. I don’t think we’re looking to do more enforcement than has previously been done. We’re simply trying not to lose our ability to enforce it where it should obviously be enforced.

For instance, next to a school, in a public park, on the sidewalk. People shouldn’t be smoking pot next to an elementary school, obviously. But the fact that the state attorney and the police can’t prosecute and arrest you for that right now because of the testing makes it a problem. So we’re simply going to say ‘let’s just treat pot and hemp just like liquor.’ It’s it’s not an increase in enforcement. It’s simply a substitution of a new type of enforcement for a new ordinance locally that had previously been enforced by the county prosecutor with police officers.

Now that smoking hemp is legal across Florida, it's causing problems for local governments who want to prohibit smoking illegal marijuana. The substances… ]]>