Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has passed a bill that will allow for the possession of up to 30 g of marijuana without a criminal charge being pressed. A $100 fine can be assessed, but no misdemeanor criminal charges will be pressed up to the allotted amount.
Legalized medical marijuana has experienced a major win at the end of 2015, as the city of Pittsburgh voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession within the city limits. While this is not a direct allowance of medical marijuana, it does allow users to be able to circumvent potential jail time if they are in possession of marijuana.
The vote in favor of the bill was 7 to 2, with councilman Daniel Lavelle sponsoring the bill.
There is a limit to the amount of marijuana a person can possess, 30 g of marijuana will be allowed to be possessed without a criminal offense. A fine will be assessed, up to $100, and hashish will also be allowed to be possessed in amounts of up to 8 g.
Minors who are caught with marijuana will have their parents or guardians notified, and parents or guardians must pay the fine.
Before the bill passed, Pittsburgh would charge suspects with a misdemeanor criminal offense. The main issue with this offense is that police officers were swamped with paperwork, and the person charged would have the offense on their record. Offenders that have a misdemeanor on the record often have difficulty finding employment.
The bill is “common sense” according to Mayor Bill Peduto. The mayor also stated that the change in law will help “protect the future of young people.” As police forces have struggled to deal with enforcing drug laws, their lack of marijuana resources were causing officials to neglect more serious drug charges.
Supporters of the bill believe that allowing the possession of marijuana is a smart choice for younger generations. With the acceptance of medical marijuana increasing across the country, it only makes sense for cities to start adopting new marijuana laws with less severe punishments.
Before anyone goes on a weed search in Pittsburgh, it’s important to note that the laws are still being debated. Many universities have stated that the city is well within their right to have their own laws, but state laws ultimately have more authority. State officials could charge a person in Pittsburgh with possession of marijuana, and this is where the bill’s wording does allow for charges to be pressed against the person who has marijuana.
Ultimately, if you’re going to be in possession of marijuana in Pittsburgh, you want to make sure that you stay within city limits and do not exceed the 30 g of marijuana allowed within the scope of the bill.
Weedy.com states that this is a major win for marijuana users, may pave the way for greater acceptance of medical cannabis use in the future.