Port Richey’s City Council voted 3-2 on Tuesday night on a second reading of an ordinance to decriminalize the possession of marijuana within City limits. Possession will continue to be illegal, but will allow police to have the option of issuing $155 civil citation in lieu of an arrest.
The civil citation option is not available for offenders who are committing another crime at the same time, or are under the age of 18. Some critics of the ordinance have suggested that it is too harsh to continue to enforce the criminal penalties on minors. Port Richey’s Police Chief told the council that the City arrests around 50 people each year for marijuana possession, which he said results in unnecessary resource spent on transporting prisoners.
Mayor Dale Mossad and council members Jennifer Sorrell and Will Dittmer voted in favor of the ordinance with Vice Mayor Terry Rowe and council member Nancy Britton voting in opposition.
The ordinance will go into effect immediately.