In a 7-2 victory, Pittsburgh City Council members voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession in the city. Residents will be able to possess less than 30 grams of dry flower or less than 8 grams of hashish without facing criminal charges within city limits. The amount of 30 grams is just over one half of an ounce.
A spokesperson for Pittsburgh’s Mayor said that it is a “common-sense change that will help protect the futures of young people.” The mayor is expected to sign the bill soon, reports Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
If residents or those pulled over within city limits possess more than the sanctioned amount of marijuana, they can face fines up to $100 and additional criminal charges. While marijuana possession is a misdemeanor, it can still affect job hunts and background checks for other purposes, resulting in lost job opportunities.
Philadelphia passed similar legislation in 2014. In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, it is reported in the Post-Gazette that African-American residents were 5.7 times more likely to be detained, arrested and/or charged with marijuana possession than Caucasians; although reports have indicated marijuana use to be used equally between the two races.
This measure comes as marijuana regulation is slowly changing throughout the country. This also helps the police department focus more on dangerous crime. When police officers spend time on paperwork for a simple marijuana infraction, it takes them away from patrolling the streets and protecting the local communities.