Philadelphia City Council Votes to Decriminalize MarijuanaSubmitted by Diamond Dog on Fri, 06/20/2014 - 18:44
If signed into law, the bill would allow Philadelphia police to issue $25 tickets for possession of up to an ounce of weed.
By Dan McQuade | JUNE 19, 2014
[Original: 2:36 p.m.] You can breathe a little easier today, stoners, and not just because you probably are into vaping now. Philadelphia City Council voted today to decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of weed. Even the heaviest stoners rarely buy more than an ounce at a time, so this bill is good news for Philadelphia potheads from the casual smoker to the wake-and-bake stoner.
The bill was first introduced by Councilman Jim Kenney in May. Under Kenney's bill, Philadelphians caught with up to an ounce (30 grams) of marijuana would not be arrested. After they paid a $25 fine, they'd have the charge expunged from their record. (Presumably, their weed would also be confiscated.) Since June 2010, Philadelphia has treated possession of up to an ounce of weed as a summary offense punishable with a $200 fine and a three-hour class on drug abuse.
"After discussions with Philadelphia’s criminal justice stakeholders, my requests to end mandatory custodial arrests — i.e. handcuffs and a night in jail — were deemed an 'administrative burden' on our courts and police,” Kenney told NBC10.com in May. “Public officials shouldn’t be worried about ‘administrative burdens’ when our inaction is senselessly burdening over 4,000 people with life-changing criminal records each year.”
Two Republican members of City Council, Dennis O’Brien and David Oh, spoke out against the bill. O'Brien suggested the law could eventually lead to “assaults on police officers.”