Council Takes on Marijuana, E-Cigarettes Next Week

One product is going to get easier to use. The other: Much harder.

There’s an old conservative joke that liberals will outlaw cigarette smoking about the same time the legalize marijuana. In Philadelphia, that joke will become almost literally true next week.

The conversation will happen as hearings of two Council committees.

On Monday, the Committee on Law and Government will hold a hearing on a proposed bill that would further decriminalize marijuana in city limits. Bill 140001 is:

An Ordinance amending Chapter 10-800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Safety,” by providing for ending the existing procedure of mandatory custodial arrests for the crime of Marijuana possession, and by requiring the reporting of the number of arrests and related information with respect to those arrested for Marijuana possession; all under certain terms and conditions.

In other words: Cops catch you with a little weed—no more than 30 grams—they won’t necessarily arrest you anymore. (You might, however, get a citation to pay a fine.)

Why this  is kind of funny: On Thursday, the Committee on Public Health and Human Services will hold a hearing on two other bills: One would make it illegal to smoke e-cigarettes in public places and in workplaces; the other would make it illegal to to sell them or other “unapproved nicotine delivery products” to kids.

In other words: The council may prohibit using fake cigarettes at the same it makes easier to use marijuana. Philadelphia, it seems, will only permit so many vices at a time.