PHILA Ignores Marijuana Decriminalization
Although last month, it was approved by the Philadelphia City Council to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, there were still 264 arrests this month! Law enforcement officials say they will not stop arresting people for pot possession even if the bill eventually becomes a law.
Councilman Jim Kenney, responsible for introducing the bill, is apprehensive that authorities are not considering the method to his madness. "The issue for me is that we have a 26 percent poverty rate. I need to have everyone working. And for a lot of these people, it is impossible to get jobs, all over a nickel bag of cannabis or a couple of joints."
Of the 264 arrests, 140 people (the majority) were arrested for possession of marijuana. The others were knocked for war on drug crimes such as intent to sell and possession of an illegal substance other than marijuana. Kenney stated that none of the arrests consisted of violent criminals and assumes that the arrests were made under discrimination, which the city of Philadelphia is accustomed to. In 2013, 83% of marijuana possession cases involved African Americans.
The PHILA mayor, Michael Nutter, will have to make a decision in September. He hasn't given any hints to vetoing the bill however he is against decriminalization.