Mayor Nutter is finally on the decriminalization bandwagon.
The mayor today said he would sign a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot — arriving at a compromise on some details with Councilman Jim Kenney, who sponsored the original bill.
Kenney’s bill would’ve ended arrests for possessing less than an ounce of pot; police instead would’ve written up a $25 ticket to the possessor, and could’ve destroyed the pot on the spot. The mayor’s tweak adds a $100 fine for smoking in public — which can be waived with several hours of public service.
“We’ve gotten to a place where it is out of the criminal realm,” Kenney said today. “There’s no more handcuffs, no more bookings, no more criminal record. Police will not have to leave their posts and go to the station house to deal with this. People will pay a fine based on the offense: $25 for the possession of anything under an ounce.”
“So I think the agreement ends up putting the city and our citizens in a much better place,” Nutter said, adding that decriminalizing pot possession is not the same as condoning marijuana use.
“It’s not. This is about how we deal with penalties in that regard. And there will be penalties. There’s a consequence to people violating the law,” Nutter said.
The bill will be amended Thursday by council, get a final vote two weeks later, then be sent to the mayor for his signature.