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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) —  Broward County commissioners  unanimously passed a plan to draft an ordinance to lessen penalties for minor pot possession Tuesday afternoon.

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The proposal would downgrade penalties for those who are caught with 20 grams or less of marijuana in Broward County.

Click here to watch Joan Murray’s report. 

Police officers would have the option of issuing a civil infraction instead of arresting those caught with weed.

Vice Mayor Marty Kian who is sponsoring the proposal says it would give others a second chance.

“Many good people are arrested and their lives are ruined because they had in their possession a misdemeanor amount of marijuana. If this proposed ordinance passes and takes effect, civilly citing people rather than arresting them, will provide good folks, who make a mistake, with a second chance in life,” said Vice Mayor Kiar.

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The main goal of the plan is to reduce jail overcrowding and allow those caught to pay a fine instead of facing criminal charges and a record.

Attorney Michael Minardi told the commission how a young man he represented faced being Kept out of the ROTC because of  a minor marijuana charge

The Broward county attorney will draft an ordinance that would come back to the Board of Commissioners for further discussion and a final approval.

The plan comes as 14 states have already decriminalized minor marijuana possession. Similar laws are being considered in Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach and Hallandale Beach.

The pot penalties plans follow a CBS4 News investigation “Race Matters: Policing by the Numbers” which showed how an arrest for relatively minor crimes such as misdemeanor marijuana possession disproportionately affect African-Americans and low income residents who are often targeted by police for increased enforcement.

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Miami-Dade County is close to passing a similar ordinance to lessen penalties for pot possession