Philly mayor to sign bill decriminalizing pot

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PHILADELPHIA — City officials have given the green light to a bill that would allow the Philadelphia Police Department to stop arresting people from possessing small amounts of marijuana.

The original bill passed City Council in June with a veto-proof majority. Mayor MichaelNutter’s spokesman said Monday that he would sign it.

The bill’s sponsor, Councilman Jim Kenney, says the bill calls for a $25 fine for people caught with less than an ounce of marijuana. He says the offense wouldn’t go on the person’s record, and he compared it to a parking ticket.

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Kenney said the change would keep people from establishing arrest records and would give police more time to focus on other crimes in the city.

The law would go into effect Oct. 20 after amendments are added to the bill, said Mark McDonald, the mayor’s spokesman. McDonald wouldn’t divulge details of the amendments, but Kenney said part of the compromise with the mayor is the addition of a $100 fine or community service for public consumption of marijuana.

The bill is expected to be amended Thursday, voted on next week and sent to the mayor’s desk for his signature.


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