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Decriminalized Marijuana Possession Granted in York City While the Rest of Pennsylvania Waits

Pennsylvania is working on bills to legalize medical marijuana but some cities are looking to be proactive in the cannabis movement.

Decriminalized marijuana possession in York City, Pennsylvania was approved by its city council adding the historic town to the list of progressives in the country. All of Pennsylvania is likely to have medical marijuana permitted in the relatively near future.

Just as it is with individual states versus the federal government, towns and cities within each state are making some of their own decisions about how they want to be represented in the cannabis movement. Does your town represent you well in your stance towards cannabis?

The York City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday night that will reduce penalties for possessing and using small amounts of marijuana.

Passed by a 4-1 vote, the ordinance gives York City Police officers some flexibility in handling first, second and third offenses for possession and use of 30 grams or less of marijuana and 8 grams or less of hashish, a product derived from marijuana.

Councilwoman Renee Nelson was the lone vote against the ordinance. At a council debate in May, Nelson said she was wary of supporting decriminalization because she does not know the long-term effects or benefits of marijuana use.

The council’s vote sparked a mini-celebration from several dozen people who showed up to support the ordinance.
Over the course of two council meetings where the ordinance was discussed extensively, not a single person spoke out against the proposal or decriminalization.

Under the ordinance, officers will be able to treat first, second and third offenses as civil matters and issue citations instead of arresting those found with marijuana or hashish.

First possession offenses will prompt a $100 fine, second offenses will draw a $250 fine and third offenses will bring a $500 fine.

The fines for using marijuana or hashish in public start at $150 for a first offense, with fines rising to $300 for a second offense and $600 for a third offense, according to the new regulation, which establishes Article 718 “Marijuana Possession” of the York City Codified Ordinances.

Decriminalization bandwagon: York City is the fifth municipality in Pennsylvania to pass legislation decriminalizing simple possession of marijuana.

Philadelphia led the way in October 2014 and was the lone municipality with decriminalization on its books for 18 months until Pittsburgh approved a similar measure in April 2016.

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Brian Wroblewski

Brian Wroblewski has a passion for writing, travel, food and family. Since working in and around the cannabis industry since 2008, Brian brings a unique perspective to the cannabis journalism space. With a focus on emerging brands, moving the cannabis industry forward and an undeniable passion for truth in business and journalism, find some of Brian's posts across the web on digital marketing, cannabis and a variety of different topics.

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