Philadelphia Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession Gains Momentum


On Monday, the Philadelphia City Council committee gave its blessing to a bill that would decriminalize minor possession of cannabis in Philadelphia–despite Mayor Michael Nutter’s direct objection to the bill.

Sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney, the bill would reduce the punishment for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana to a minor “code violation” and $25 fine. Currently, in the state of Pennsylvania this “crime” can be punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Police officers would still be able to arrest offenders, however.

The bill was approved to move forward by Philadelphia’s public safety director Mike Resnick despite his own concerns. Next, on June 19, the entire City Council will decide whether or not to move the bill forward–meaning it still has a long way to go before decriminalization becomes close to a reality for Philadelphians.

Unfortunately, if Mayor Nutter get the final say the bill won’t come to fruition this year. But, at least reasonable minds have come together to make some progress in the Liberty State:

“I think the problem is carrying an arrest record around for probably most of your life when you make a mistake as a 25-year-old,” Kenney said. “That is more obnoxious than anything else we’re concerned about here.” [CBS Philadelphia]

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania also has its own ongoing struggle for medical marijuana. And oddly enough, to help fast track the bill Pennsylvania supporters called upon Irvin Rosenfeld–the Florida resident who receives federally grown cannabis from the government–to help bolster their case.

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Barry has been writing about marijuana for over five years. Prior to joining, Barry wrote about sports and music. His work has appeared on TIME, The Huffington Post, Deadspin, and elsewhere on the Internet. In his spare time, he enjoys disco and Kosher Kush.

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