Pittsburgh’s City Council is set to hold a preliminary vote today on whether or not the city will decriminalize marijuana.
“If the ordinance passes, police could fine people $25 to $100 and seize the drugs as long as the person had less than 30 grams of marijuana. That’s about an ounce,” local news station WKBN27 reported.
“People could have about eight grams of hash.”
Under current Pennsylvania law, possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor that can be punished with as many as 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
A day before the vote is scheduled to be held, the city hosted a townhall meeting where citizens spoke out overwhelmingly in favor of the proposed change.
“Nearly 40 people spoke out in support of the move to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana,” said an article at Extract.
“Not one person voiced opposition to the decriminalization proposal during Tuesday’s meeting,” the article said. “Which is certainly promising for supporters that want to see City Council move the proposal forward.”
Those who spoke out in favor of the proposed change focused primarily on the damage inflicted by the heavy-handed policing of marijuana prohibition laws.
“Supporters say the law would prevent people from having a criminal record for a minor offense that some argue disproportionately affects black people,” reported WKBN27.
Encouragingly, the news source also said that “Pittsburgh’s police chief is behind the move, too.”
Pennsylvania’s marijuana prohibition laws recently made headlines when a 2-year-old girl with a severe form of epilepsy died from a seizure while waiting for access to medicinal cannabis.
“My daughter died waiting,” the girl’s mother said to lawmakers, who had stalled a bill that could have legalized medical marijuana in the state.
“How many children have to die? I will never get her back. I will never hear her laugh again, but others can be saved. Do not wait another day to pass this bill.”
So far, marijuana remains illegal in Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia is the state’s only major city that has made any changes to prohibition laws.
Last year, the city decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.