Philadelphia allows Possession of 30gm Marijuana

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on October 03, 2014.

In a historic development, Mayor Michael Nutter signed the legislation on Wednesday, making Philadelphia the biggest city in the United States to decriminalize marijuana. The law, which becomes effective from October 20, will allow possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, which was earlier a criminal offense. Going forward, it will be just a civil offense.

Not to be confused, the new legislation does not legalize pot in Philadelphia. It just reduces penalties stemming from possession and public use to small fines and community service. Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana, will lead to arrest and warrant criminal proceedings.

People can still be arrested for failing to show ID cards when caught with marijuana. Those possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana will be fined $25. People, caught smoking in public will be cited and fined $100. If they fail to pay the fine, they will have to perform nine hours of community service. The existing law in Philadelphia punishes any marijuana possession with at least a $200 fine, a drug abuse course and an arrest record, which won't be the case from October 20.

The city has also decided to launch an outreach campaign to educate people about the new law. The law was announced last month after reaching a compromise on several clauses and amendments proposed earlier. City Councilman James Kenney, who is also the sponsor of the bill, hailed the new legislation, saying it will address various issues such as disproportionate marijuana arrests in the African-American community. He expressed confidence that it will help in curbing criminal activities and increase job opportunities.

At the same time, neither Michael Nutter nor James Kenney advocated the use of marijuana. But, they agreed that the new legislation will protect the kids and young people from any danger and help them move on while recovering from the trauma. Kenney believes that the people's lives should not be allowed to get screwed up because of a mistake they make at young age. Philadelphia will make sure to spread the right message among the people that excessive use of marijuana still remains punishable under the criminal law and any conviction may have serious consequences for them.

Philadelphia's move is seen as a great step towards changing the lives of people at a time when the District of Columbia's decriminalization efforts were held up due to the legal tangles. In the United States, only Colorado and Washington states have passed laws legalizing the cultivation, sale and recreational marijuana.

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