Cocoa Beach leaders consider decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana

Cocoa Beach leaders are considering decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.

Florida Today is reporting that instead of arresting suspects caught with small amounts of marijuana, police officers may soon start writing citations instead. 

The Cocoa Beach City Commission will discuss an ordinance on Thursday regarding this possible chance. The ordinance would create a citation process for two marijuana-related crimes, the Florida Today reports. The crimes would be possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Florida Today also states that if the ordinance is adopted, civil penalties will be established by separate resolution.

As it currently stands, both of those crimes are first-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Cocoa Beach Mayor Ben Malik says that "I don't want to ruin somene's life over a low-level infraction." He went on and said that "all we are doing is giving police the discretions. It's still illegal -- we are giving them the option to give you a civil citation."

Others parts of Florida, including in Alachua, Miami-Dade, Osceola, Palm Beach and Volusia counties, have adopted similar marijuana ordinances. 

The Cocoa Beach City Commission will begin at 7 p.m.