• Jacksonville councilman trying to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in Duval County

    By: Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Councilman Garrett Dennis is trying to push a bill that would decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana in Duval County. 

    Thursday morning, he held a meeting with other city leaders and locals to discuss the bill.

    Matthew Luis Killen tells us after he left the Navy, he had back issues and suffered from Crohn’s disease, for which his doctors prescribed medical marijuana.


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    “I saw this as an avenue to relieve me of my pain and still allow me to move forward with my life,” said Killen.

    He joined a group of city leaders and locals as they listened to councilman Dennis talk about a bill that would decriminalize marijuana in Duval County.

    Councilman Dennis told us that bill would not legalize marijuana, buy instead allow officers to issue a civil citation to those caught with small amounts.

    Councilman Dennis says his goal is to keep arrests off someone’s record. 

    “If they had a job, now they’re fired from their job because they’ve been in jail and so it increases a vicious cycle,” said Dennis.

    Killen says it almost happened to him when he was a recreational user and he nearly missed out on a production job because he was caught with marijuana.

    “They almost didn’t hire me – a stoner band didn’t hire me because I had a mugshot for a marijuana arrest,” he said.

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    Killen told us he’s hoping City Council and Mayor Lenny Curry will consider passing the bill. 

    “If it is decriminalized, especially statewide we need to expunge records, we need to find a way for (upward) mobility for people who are affected by these laws because these laws are terrible,” said Killen.  

    Sheriff Mike Williams told Action News Jax last week that he doesn’t support the bill.

    Councilman Dennis said he’s planning on having more community meetings to educate people on the bill and he’s expecting the city to vote on this bill next month or in July.

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