Nutter signs order on pot decriminalization in Philly

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A measure pending in Pennsylvania's Legislature would change possession of a small amount of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a summary offense. Philadelphia already has such an ordinance on its books. (Ted S. Warren/AP Photo, file)

A measure pending in Pennsylvania's Legislature would change possession of a small amount of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a summary offense. Philadelphia already has such an ordinance on its books. (Ted S. Warren/AP Photo, file)

In addition to signing a bill that nearly decriminalizes possessing small amounts of marijuana in Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order.

Nutter says the indiscretions of youth such as having less than 30 grams of pot come back to haunt people as they become older. That can make it harder to enter the military, receive a student loan or even in some cases find housing.

“It is our hope by decriminalizing marijuana in the city of Philadelphia, we can begin to eliminate this great impediment to many who are otherwise law abiding citizens trying to lead productive lives,” he said.

For possession, violators could receive a $25 fine, with another $100 tacked on if you are caught smoking it in public. The fines can be worked off in community service.

Nutter’s executive order will create an outreach campaign to educate residents about the consequences of pot use while also helping those previously convicted to get their records cleared.

“We want to help individuals who made a mistake get a clean slate,” he said. “We do not want to disproportionately punish people for a crime.”

The changes take effect October 20th.

 

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