Philadelphia Is Largest City To Decriminalize

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Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter finally agreed to sign a new ordinance in which custodial arrest is finally off the table for small amounts of cannabis.  The Philadelphia City Council passed the new bill in May which is looking very promising for the large city.  

The SAM program, also known as Small Amounts of Medical Marijuana, went into effect in June of 2010.  The program states that possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana was punished with arrest, a $200 fine and a three-hour class on drug abuse.  This proposed decriminalization effort was not effective, since over 4,000 arrests occurred since then in Philadelphia.

The new law will fix this problem by making the penalties only financial with no chance of a criminal record.  Fines will be as low as $25 for possession of 30 grams or less.  After holding out for many months, Nutter agreed on Monday to sign the bill before the September 11 deadline.  After the City Council agreed to an extra $100 fine for public consumption of marijuana, the mayor finally decided to sign the bill.