Jefferson County Police to Cite, Rather than Prosecute, Minor Marijuana Violators

The Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama (Wikimedia Commons)

BIRMINGHAM, AL — A spokesperson for the Jefferson County (population: 658,000) Sheriff’s Office on Monday announced that local law enforcement will begin citing, rather than arresting, low-level marijuana offenders.

Under the new policy, police will issue a summons to those who possess personal amounts of marijuana or cannabis-related paraphernalia. Offenders will no longer be arrested or booked.

Those cited and released will still have to either pay a fine or appear in court at a later date. Those with prior cannabis violations will still be eligible to receive a summons.

Under state law, marijuana possession is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $6,000 fine.

Similar cite and release programs are in place in other cities and counties around the country, including in Palm Beach County, Florida and in Harris County (Houston), Texas.

Additional information is available from NORML’s ‘Local Decriminalization‘ report.

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