These advocates want Pennsylvania to decriminalize marijuana — just like Pittsburgh did – The Incline
There are just a handful of municipalities in Pennsylvania where possessing a small amount of marijuana is not a crime.
Pittsburgh is one of those cities (although it’s unclear how well it’s working here), along with Philadelphia, Harrisburg and State College. But statewide, local police are still arresting thousands of people for pot every year.
“That really is an imperfect solution,” Patrick Nightingale, an attorney and the executive director of Pittsburgh NORML, told The Incline. “Because if you’re not in Philadelphia, or you’re not in Pittsburgh, you still face prosecution for a misdemeanor level offense — possessing a small amount of marijuana.”
Advocates who want to see marijuana decriminalized across the state will rally in Harrisburg on Wednesday morning. Pittsburgh NORML, the local chapter of the national marijuana reform organization, chartered a bus to bring people to the state capital. You can reserve a seat for $50 here.
“Ultimately the solution is FULL LEGALIZATION of cannabis that includes home grows,” organizer Keystone Cannabis Coalition wrote in an event description. “We know that this will take Pennsylvania a few years so we demand DECRIMINALIZATION NOW!”
Nightingale said “even some of our more conservative legislators are coming to the conclusion that this is not a tenable situation for Pennsylvanians.”
“We can’t have Pennsylvanians facing potentially inconsistent penalties or inconsistent prosecution depending on simply where they are,” he said.
There are currently two bills before the Pa. legislature on this topic. One, introduced by Republican Rep. Barry J. Jozwiak, would make the possession of under 30 grams of marijuana a summary offense, as opposed to a misdemeanor, for a first or second incident. The average amount of weed in a joint is 0.32 grams, according to one estimate. Under Jozwiak’s bill, the state would no longer automatically suspend the driver’s license of a person cited for this offense. The maximum fine would be $300, although that amount and other penalties would increase for the