The York City Council has given approval to an ordinance that decriminalizes the possession of slightly over an ounce of marijuana.
The ordinance, approved on a 4 to 1 vote, decriminalizes the possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis for those 18 and older: The measure was introduced by Councilmember Judy Ritter-Dickson.
Under the approved law, those caught possessing marijuana – as long as it’s under 30 grams and not for distribution purposes – will be fined $100 for a first offense, rather than being arrested and charged with a criminal misdemeanor. For a second offense, the fine will be raised to $250, and $500 for a third offense. If someone commits more than three violations in a five year period, they can still face a misdemeanor charge and the potential of jail time.
Smoking in public will be treated in a similar manner, with the first three offenses in a five year period being a simple civil infraction, the only difference being an increase in the price of the fine; $150, $300 and $600.
With passage of the ordinance York now joins, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as Pennsylvania cities that have decriminalizes or lowered the penalties for marijuana possession.
York, located in York County, has a population of around 43,000.