Early this week in Pennsylvania, the York City Council voted to make the possession of small amounts of marijuana a summary offense with a maximum fine of $100 and no jail time. Previously, it was a criminal misdemeanor that carried up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
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Imprisoning individuals for possessing small amounts of a substance that is safer than alcohol wastes valuable resources and can lead to a lifetime of harsh consequences, including denial of student financial aid, housing, employment, and professional licenses.
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York joins Pennsylvania’s three largest cities — Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg — and twenty-two states and the District of Columbia, which have stopped jailing individuals for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Across the state, towns and cities are considering similar commonsense policies. The time has come for statewide decriminalization.
Related: Qualifying Conditions for MMJ in Pennsylvania
To get involved locally, contact the Keystone Cannabis Coalition. You can find some background materials on decriminalization here.
About the Author: Becky Dansky is a State Policies Legislative Counsel at the Marijuana Policy Project. Founded in 1995, Marijuana Policy Project is the largest advocacy organization in the United States that's sole focus is ending marijuana prohibition.