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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Decrim in Philadelphia - by Chelsea Shaker

     Activists in Philadelphia are proud to announce the signage of the marijuana decriminalization bill by Mayor Michael Nutter after the bill was voted on and passed 13-3 by Philadelphia City Council. The bill calls for personal possession of under 30 grams to be applicable for a $25 civil fine for adults aged 21 years and older. The mayor also went as far as agreeing to sign a similar bill for a civil fine of $100 for public consumption of marijuana, also proposed and passed by the Philly City Council. Author of the bill, Councilman Jim Kenney, expressed the need for the decriminalization in Philadelphia due to the overwhelming amount of arrests in the city and negative effects on the community for non-violent arrests. 

     On average, over 82% of all marijuana arrests are handed out to African Americans in the area. While Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in the U.S., this makes the city the best example for a successful decriminalization effort. While activists began this mission back in 2010 with the SAM Bill (Small Amount of Non-Medical Marijuana) it fell short on votes and support from the community and city council at that time. Mayor Nutter agreed to ensure these bills received his signature by the September 11th deadline.

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