St. Pete considers marijuana law similar to Tampa

- Attitudes are changing about marijuana, but with that comes changing laws.

On April 1, Tampa began handing out citations for pot possession, rather than handing out handcuffs. St. Pete is now considering a similar measure.

"It is definably not legalizing marijuana. We don't even have the legal authority to do that. What it is making the punishment for small amounts of marijuana fit the crime," said councilman Steve Kornell.

As the proposal stands, getting caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana would land you a $75 fine, and a community service option would also be available. It would mean low-level offenders aren't getting stuck with criminal records for life.

"The penalty doesn't fit the crime. It's way out of whack," Kornell said.

Since Tampa's ordinance kicked-in, 64 marijuana citations have been handed out so far. Many during traffic stops.

"I'm against it right now," said St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway.

He wants to see more uniformity between the city and county.

"More uniformity to make sure we're all doing it the same way," he said.

The proposal was approved with only one vote against it at Thursday's Public Safety and Infrastructure committee meeting. It'll be up for discussion by the full council next month.

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