Miami-Dade County has passed an ordinance that gives police officers the option of issuing a $100 citation (like a parking ticket) for small amounts of marijuana possession. As long as you possess less than 20 grams (about 36 joints depending on the size) you could have the bitter sweet luck of getting a ticket for $100 instead of a criminal charge. The thinking is that it can save a lot of kids from getting rap sheets and the also free up police to focus on more serious crimes.
But depending on the officer’s mood (and most likely what you do to influence the officer’s mood being respectful vs. being disrespectful) will likely determine if you get the citation vs. getting arrested. The law on the books says that possession is a first-degree misdemeanor which means the charge carries a maximum one-year in jail and up to a $1000 fine. Also, if you are convicted (and only 2% of people are) you could lose your license for two years.
Marijuana laws may be becoming a little less harsh but are still serious if you have prior offenses in your criminal record, possess at or near schools, or sell it. If you know someone that has been charged, it’s a good idea to call an experienced criminal lawyer right away.