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Marijuana may become decriminalized in Philadelphia

According to Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substance, Drug Device, and Cosmetic Act, it is illegal for anyone in the state to possess a controlled substance, like marijuana. If a person is believed to be guilty for the possession of drugs, they face serious penalties, such as the requirement to spend up to a year in prison, pay a fine that does not exceed $5,000 or both.

However, if an upcoming piece of legislation in Philadelphia is approved, people in this city who possess small amounts of marijuana or smoke it in public will no longer face criminal charges. Instead, they will be given a citation and be required to pay a fine. If this bill is passed, those facing drug possession charges for marijuana will be fined $100 if they are caught using it in public or be required to spend nine hours performing community service. However, those possessing marijuana must only have approximately one ounce in their possession at a time. 

Those who are in favor of decriminalizing the use of this drug state that it will allow those who use this drug on a minimal basis to protect their personal record and keep employment and educational opportunities open to them.

However, until this bill is passed or a piece of legislation like it goes into action, those who use marijuana recreationally may be charged with steep fines and serious penalties that could harm their ability to find a job and seek other opportunities. Those facing charges for possessing this drug may benefit from speaking with an attorney who can provide guidance at this time.

Source: The New York Times, “Philadelphia Nears Deal to Ease Marijuana Laws,” Trip Gabriel, September 11, 2014

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Gregory R. Gifford
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