Pittsburgh’s City Council has given overwhelming approval to an ordinance that will decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis and hash, making it a ticketable rather than arrestable offense.
The vote was 8 to 1, with Councilmember Darlene Harris standing as the sole “No” vote. Mayor Bill Peduto is expected to sign the ordinance into law by next week.
Under the new law, those caught possessing up to 30 grams of cannabis – or 8 grams of hash – will be given a summary citation of $25, or $100 if caught consuming in public. Under current law, the possession of even a miniscule amount of cannabis is punishable by a misdemeanor and up to 30 days in jail.
“This is a small step — but an important step — in helping young men who may have a small amount of marijuana on them, not be entered into the criminal justice system,” Councilmember Ricky Burgess said before the vote.
With a population of roughly 305,000, Pittsburgh is the 2nd most populated city in Pennsylvania, and the 62nd most populated city in the United States.