Marijuana Reform News in the United States:
The push to reform marijuana law is being felt all across the United States. So far, 23 states have reformed state law as it relates to medical marijuana. 4 states have also legalized marijuana for recreational use. Additional states are expected to have marijuana reform initiatives on the 2016 ballot as the momentum to reform continues to build across the U.S. Although Pennsylvania is not one of the states that has already passed legislation to legalize marijuana, discussions to decriminalize marijuana are happening within the state. The city of Pittsburgh recently made headlines for considering reform that would decriminalize marijuana. Pittsburgh Pennsylvania may be the next city to step ahead on the path to marijuana reform.
Marijuana Reform News in the City of Pittsburgh:
Pittsburgh used to be the “Steel City”, but has since evolved into a city known more for business, technology, and medicine. Discussions have started that will allow the town to evolve once again. Marijuana reform in the city of Pittsburgh is a possibility and the Pittsburgh City Council just made headlines for considering this potential.
The Pittsburgh City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on December 15, 2015 in the Council Chambers of the City Council Building in downtown Pittsburgh. The point of the meeting is to discuss the merits associated with decriminalizing marijuana possession in the city. So, if it is decided that marijuana is decriminalized in the city, police would have the option to introduce a civil fine of up to $100 and seize marijuana from those found to be in possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana or eight grams of hashish. One primary reason for this change is to reduce the number of city residents that suffer long lasting negative consequences for possessing a small amount of marijuana.
Chair for the Pittsburgh Public Safety Committee, Daniel Lavelle, said that the decriminalization of marijuana would help the consequences of unemployment, lack of education, and long term involvement with the criminal justice system for individuals found to possess small amounts of marijuana. According to city statistics, approximately 1,000 individuals are charged with a misdemeanor level marijuana possession offense on an annual basis in the city.
Pittsburgh would not be the first city to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania. The city of Philadelphia has already approved this action and the legislation has drastically cut marijuana possession related arrests. The overarching goal is to reduce the number of lives that are ruined due to the possession of a small amount of marijuana. According to many advocates of reform, the negative consequences of possession have not been commensurate with the offense. Decriminalization is a step towards making the consequences more commensurate.