YORK, Pa. – Are you one of those who think cannabis or marijuana should be decriminalized? Residents of York City and advocates of marijuana reform voiced their support for the decriminalization of using and possessing the drug within the city.
One of the city council members, Judy Ritter-Dickson claims that cannabis is not as serious as other crimes occurring in the city. Also, a number of residents shared anecdotal evidence to support a proposed ordinance aiming for the reduction of the penalties in the use and possession of cannabis.
Ritter-Dickson proposed an ordinance that would have York City Police to present a summary offense against individuals of legal age caught in possession or use of up to 30 grams of marijuana and require them to pay a fine instead of facing arrest.
Furthermore, the ordinance stipulates the same penalty for using or possessing of up to 8 grams of hashish which is a product of cannabis.
According to the proposed ordinance, the fine structure specifies that the first marijuana possession offense of a person is at $100. For a second offense, the fine is at $250, while a third offense will bring a $350 fine. The fine for using marijuana or hashish has a higher value wherein a first offense is at $150, a second offense comes with a doubled fine of $300, and a third offense will incur a $600 fine.
A criminal prosecution will be conducted if an adult is found to be using or in possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana more than three times within a span of five years.
Residents showed support towards the proposed ordinance because they prefer for adults and kids to not lose educational and housing opportunities over marijuana use and possession. They believe that there are other much more serious crimes.
One resident, Tina Charles, tells her personal story in support of the ordinance. She and her husband took responsibility for their son’s attempt to grow marijuana seeds in their attic. She spent three weeks in prison before their family was able to post bail of $50,000. Her husband, on the other hand spent 11 months in jail because they were not able to pay the $100,000 bail.
Charles did not want other residents to suffer the same hardships as their family have over the possession of marijuana. Another resident, Shane Coolbaugh had to finish his high school education in an “alternative school” because of an allegation that he and his friends smoked marijuana even with the lack of substantial evidence. He did not want the future of other students to be ruined.
According to Ritter-Dickson, the ordinance will be able to alleviate some of the burden off city residents especially parents before the state government approve of the legalization or decriminalization of cannabis. Would you support this kind of ordinance?
On July 18, at the York City Hall, the York City Council is expected to convene and vote on the proposed ordinance. There are high hopes for the ordinance to pass since two other city council members expressed their tentative support.