Philadelphia City Council Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana

PENNSYLVANIA:  The Philadelphia City Council on Thursday passed a measure decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, following a wave of U.S. states and cities lowering penalties on the drug.

The city council voted 13-to-3 to make possession of less than one ounce (30 grams) of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine. The approval vote carried a wide enough margin to override a possible veto by Mayor Michael Nutter, who has not taken a clear position.

“It is obviously a complicated piece of legislation,” Nutter told the local CBS television affiliate. “Concerns have been expressed by Police Commissioner (Charles) Ramsey, DA Seth Williams, and representatives in our court system. So we’ll read through the legislation.”

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but a growing number of state and local governments have moved to treat possession no more seriously than a traffic ticket.


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