Philly Police: You Will Still Be Arrested for Marijuana Possession

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The Philadelphia Police Department says they won't stop arresting people for possession of small amounts of marijuana, even if Mayor Michael Nutter signs a bill allowing it.

Commissioner Charles Ramsey says the crime is still on the state's law books, and must still be treated as misdemeanor.

The measure allows the police department to no longer require officers to arrest somebody who is 18 and older for possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana. It would still be punishable by a $25 fine.

The bill's sponsor, Councilman James Kenney, says other jurisdictions in Pennsylvania don't arrest people for small amounts of marijuana and the state hasn't challenged them. He said the measure would save the city millions of dollars and prevent users from being marked for life by a minor, bad decision.

Philadelphia Police spokesman Lt. John Stanford adds that the issue is not that cut and dry.

"It's not as simple as just writing a ticket and walking away; there are many other factors that have to be considered before a decision is made to change a law," he said.

Nutter hasn't yet said whether he'll sign it. The bill passed by a veto-proof majority, 13-3.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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