Two weeks ago, we told you that there had been 264 people charged with marijuana possession in Philadelphia in the month following City Council’s June 19th vote to decriminalize the possession of small amounts.
And since that report, there have been 156 more arrests, according to court records, bringing the grand total to 420. (Yes, 420.) That’s 420 people who now have criminal records for possession, and the vast majority of them were not charged with any other crimes.
Councilman Jim Kenney, who introduced the bill, saw our report documenting the original 264 arrests and fired off a letter to Mayor Michael Nutter, urging him to sign the bill.
But then, the mayor jetted off to France.
Technically, Nutter doesn’t have to do anything about it until mid-September, by which time another 420 or so people will have been carted off to jail.
Meanwhile, Kenney has launched a hotline for those arrested for small amounts of possession to share their stories of how the arrest has affected their lives. His staff went to the Criminal Justice Center to hand out fliers (seen here) advertising the phone number, which is 267-570-3726.
“We’ve gotten about 40 calls,” says Jim Engler, Director of Legislation in Kenney’s office. Engler says that staff has been reaching out to the callers to see how Kenney might be able to help.
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