Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Philadelphia's New Marijuana Law Starts Today

In an attempt to unclog their courts, Philadelphia is allowing some marijuana possession charges of one ounce or less to be downgraded from a misdeameanor to a summary offense. Law enforcement will still process the offenders after taking a class and paying a $200 fine, most can have their records expunged. 
Take a class, pay a $200 fine and any record would be expunged - that's what is likely to happen now in several thousand cases a year, said Deputy District Attorney Ed McCann.

Just don't expect hands-off treatment by police, if you're caught with a small amount of marijuana, defined as 30 grams or less.

"You're still arrested, you're still brought in, you're still fingerprinted, you're still given a prelim," said Tasha Jamerson, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office.

Only at the preliminary arraignment are procedures changing, as many cases will be "diverted" from misdemeanor charges, said McCann.

That won't be automatic either.
Obviously Philly could do more to unclog their court system with marijuana offenders but this is a positive and sensible change. With some more SSDP chapters in PA, maybe we could get other cities to follow suit!

A poll at Philly.com asked readers "Should marijuana be legalized?" 79% have answered yes.