Volusia County to give citations for marijuana

Volusia County will become the first in Central Florida to allow its deputies to write citations for possession of small amounts of marijuana.  Deputies will now have the option of that ticket instead of taking the person to jail.

Councilman Josh Wagner pressed for the measure.  "Do we really want to clog up the officer's time, the court system's time, the state attorney's time dealing with small amounts of marijuana. I mean it's just. The focus in misdemeanors should be on DUI's and domestic violence."

The vote was unanimous at 7-0. Volusia Chairman Jason Davis explains why he favors the change.  "The Constitution of the United States says let the punishment fits the crime, let the punishment fit the crime. We leave it law enforcement's discretion. If we find somebody with one joint, why are we going to lock them up and spend all that money?"

The measure is expected to save Volusia County money. Chairman Davis and Councilman Josh Wagner both told stories about how people they knew had many problems in life and thousands of dollars spent over a small amount of marijuana. Wagner hopes this measure will allow young people to have a good life, even if they make a mistake.

"It's just this day and age with the voters in Florida and how they voted in the last election, the majority of people just have a different opinion, and I know that's medicinal marijuana, but they have a different view this day and age of marijuana in general."

Any person caught with less than 20 grams would qualify. Deputies would still have the ability to arrest any person found in possession if they choose. The measure applies to unincorporated Volusia County and the beaches, not in any of Volusia's cities.