In October of 2014, personal cannabis possession was decriminalized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the City of Brotherly Love. Now, the city council of Pittsburgh has voted to do the same within it’s city limits about 300 miles away.
The bill, sponsored by Councilman Daniel Lavelle, was supported in a 7 to 2 vote by the council on Monday December 21. Now, instead of being charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense, those caught in possession of up to 30 grams of dried cannabis flowers or up to 8 grams of concentrates in Pittsburgh may be cited and fined up to $100. If the person cited for personal possession of cannabis is under the age of 18, parents or guardians will be notified and held responsible for the fine.
Councilman Ricky Burgess, supported the bill even though he does not condone drug use.
“I think young people who make mistakes should not suffer lifelong consequences on something that I think is perhaps not life-threatening,”
This move by the Pittsburgh city council is aligned with the opinions of the majority of voters, according to recent polls. The most recent Quinnipiac University poll revealed that 51 percent of Pennsylvania voters believe that personal possession and use should be legal, and 88 percent responded that the medicinal use of cannabis should be legal. Nearly 60 percent of adults in the United States are estimated to support the full, federal legalization of the plant.
Referred to as a “common sense change that will help protect the futures of young people” by a city spokes person, Mayor Bill Peduto is expected to sign the bill.