Getting caught with a dime bag of marijuana in Philadelphia will no longer go on your criminal record, now that the city’s new district attorney is downgrading the offense.
In order to free up city courts for more serious crimes, the possession of up to a little more than an ounce of marijuana will be a summary offence instead of a misdemeanor in a new policy change that goes into effect later this month.
"We have to be smart on crime," Williams told the Inquirer. "We can't declare a war on drugs by going after the kid who's smoking a joint on 55th Street. We have to go after the large traffickers."
People arrested with up to 30 grams of marijuana will only get punishments of a fine or community service.
This initiative will wipe out about 3,000 misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases per year from the courts so that prosecutors and judges have more time a resources to go after bigger fish.
While Williams has the support of the State Supreme Court, city police don’t seem too excited about the idea.
"We're going to stop people for it. . . . Our officers are trained to do that," Vanore said. "Whether or not they make it through the charging process, that's up to the D.A. We can't control that. Until they legalize it, we're not going to stop."