Philadelphia Decriminalizes It

By Shawn Dwyer 10/02/14

Those possessing 30 grams or less in the City of Brotherly Love will get nothing more than a $25 fine.

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Mayor Nutter signing the bill. Photo via

It's official. Philadelphia has become the largest city in the United States to formally decriminalize possession for small amounts of marijuana.

On Wednesday, Mayor Michael Nutter signed legislation that lowers the possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana to a civil offense. Those possessing that amount will be fined $25, while those caught smoking pot in public will pay $100 or be made to perform community service.

But according to police, anyone who is caught selling or distributing weed, in possession of more than 30 grams, or not providing proper identification will still be subject to arrest.

Up to this point, Philadelphia punished all marijuana possession with at least a $200 fine, a drug treatment course, and worst of all, an arrest record.

"This comes at a time when many other jurisdictions are re-examining their approach to marijuana law enforcement," the mayor's office tweeted.

The city also announced that it would "teach students to resist all drugs, alcohol & tobacco" through the school district's LifeSkills training program. The mayor also signed an executive order that would provide funds to Community Legal Services to allow former convicts to have their criminal records expunged.

The new law will take effect on Oct. 20. Hopefully the city will next get to work on reforming their draconian seizure laws.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.