The Philadelphia City Council has passed a marijuana decriminalization measure, again. The Philadelphia City Council passed a different decriminalization bill earlier this year, but after Philadelphia’s Mayor expressed some concerns, and the Philadelphia Police Commissioner said he would ignore it, the measure was tweaked a little. The Mayor of Philadelphia and Police Commissioner said that they would respect this version of the measure. Per CBS Local:
The measure, which passed 14-2, embodies the compromise announced last week by Mayor Nutter and the bill’s sponsor, councilman Jim Kenney.
Kenney says he’s been assured by the mayor and police commissioner Charles Ramsey that the new policy will be enforced.
“The mayor’s on board. His staff is clearly on board, and was helpful in getting this done. And Chuck Ramsey’s a man of his word,” Kenney said shortly before the final vote.
Under the compromise, anyone caught with an ounce or less of pot would receive what’s call a “non-summary civil offense,” with a $25 fine. They’d have to make one appearance before a Municipal Court judge, but there would be no criminal record.
Also under the bill, anyone smoking pot in public would face a $100 fine, which could be waived if they agree to several hours of public service.
I truly hope that Jim Kenney is right, and that Philadelphia Police Commissioner is indeed a man of his word. Mr. Ramsey originally said that until state law is changed, he would continue to enforce state laws, not city laws, and would continue to arrest people for marijuana. The new measure is expected to be implemented next month.