Pennsylvania Bill Decriminalizing Small Marijuana Amounts Moves Forward

PENNSYLVANIA:  Over the objections of the mayor, a Philadelphia City Council committee today approved a bill that completely decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The bill, authored by Councilman Jim Kenney, would make possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana — about an ounce — a simple “code violation,” punishable only by a $25 fine.

While a police officer would issue the violation notice, the courts would no longer be involved, and the fine would be paid to the city in the same manner as a speeding ticket. Officers would still have the discretion to arrest.

Kenney said this would save police and the courts millions of dollars each year, and would spare teens from having life-altering arrest records.

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