Philadelphia Decriminalizes Marijuana


On Wednesday, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter signed legislation decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana in the city.

The law, which downgrades possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana to a civil offense, goes into effect Oct. 20. While the new legislation does not legalize pot in the City of Brotherly Love, it reduces penalties stemming from possession and public use to small fines and community service.

It makes Philadelphia the largest city in the United States to decriminalize marijuana.

Philadelphia Magazine reports:

Those possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana will be cited and fined $25. Those smoking in public will be cited and fined $100, or made to perform nine hours of community service.

Possession of amounts more than 30 grams remains a criminal offense, and people can still be arrested for failing to show ID when caught with

The city is planning an outreach campaign to educate people about the new law, which was announced last month. Councilman Jim Kenney originally proposed the amendment in May, and a compromise was reached in September.

Although Nutter has been critical of the amendment in the past, he told CBS News last month that he’d had a change of heart because too many Philadelphians were getting punished for small amounts of pot.

Philadelphia’s current law punishes any marijuana possession with at least a $200 fine, a drug abuse course and an arrest record.



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