The Cutler Bay Town Council at its Apr. 18 meeting voted 4-1 to officially urge the Florida Legislature to decriminalize and authorize the medicinal use of marijuana. It joined the City of South Miami and other area municipalities in calling for a change to long-standing regulations and policing practices.
The item appeared as 7.A on the meeting agenda. Casting “aye” votes were Mayor Edward P. MacDougall, the sponsor of the resolution and a former police officer; Vice Mayor Ernest N. Sochin; Council members Peggy R. Bell and Mary Ann L. Mixon. Councilmember Sue Ellen Loyzelle cast the only “nay” vote.
The resolution is non-binding but serves as a recommendation to state legislators. At the end of last year State Senator Larcenia J. Bullard of Miami filed Senate Joint Resolution 1028 and State Representative Jeff Clements of Lake Worth filed companion legislation HJR 353 to allow medicinal marijuana, but so far neither of the bills has been scheduled for hearings.
Bullard claims that the state currently spends $288 million in the prohibition of marijuana and that decriminalizing it would save money and de-glamorize the illegal drug for young people.
The House and Senate Joint Resolutions would place the question of allowing marijuana for medical use on the 2012 ballot as a statewide referendum. Approval by at least 60 percent of the voters would cause the state constitution to be amended.