Mayor Nutter today agreed to sign into law a bill that essentially decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana. But he says he’ll sign it only after City Council tweaks certain details of the measure.
The original bill, authored by councilman Jim Kenney, would have police issuing citations akin to a parking ticket for possession of one ounce of pot or less.
The Nutter administration and police officials had reservations about that approach. Now, Kenney and the mayor have reached agreement on a compromise: the infraction would result in what’s called a “non-summary civil offense.”
“We’ve gotten to a place where it is out of the criminal realm,” Kenney said today. “There’s no more handcuffs, no more bookings, no more criminal record. Police will not have to leave their posts and go to the station house to deal with this. People will pay a fine based on the offense: $25 for the possession of anything under an ounce.”
Anyone cited would be required to make an appearance before a Municipal Court judge, but there would be no criminal record. Those caught smoking marijuana in public would face a $100 fine, which could be waived if they agree to several hours of public service.
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