Pennsylavania Cities Continue to Embrace Decriminalization of Marijuana


With the recent passage of a marijuana decriminalization ordinance, the City of York joins Philadelphia, State College, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg in no longer criminalizing the simple possession of small amounts of marijuana. Following several meetings to discuss the proposal, members of city council heard from Chris Goldstein, former executive director of Philadelphia NORML and Les Stark, executive director of the Keystone Cannabis Coalition. Both spoke in support of the proposal and even provided encouraging data showing a decline in marijuana arrests in other municipalities that adopted similar measures.

“Towns across Pennsylvania are moving away from handcuffs and towards issuing fines instead, that’s good news in a state where we have more than 18,000 consumers arrested every year,” said Chris Goldstein.

Similar to other decriminalization measures that have been adopted by municipalities in the Commonwealth, the ordinance approved by the York City Council replaces criminal prosecution and potential jail time with a simple fine or community service for those possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana. The ordinance also decriminalized the public consumption of marijuana.


While local governments across Pennsylvania continue to adopt measures to reduce the penalty for personal possession of marijuana from jail time to a simple fine, state lawmakers have been more apprehensive on the issue. But advocates are hopeful things will change as the conversation advances on the local level. “This really puts the pressure on legislators in Harrisburg to vote on statewide bills and start having the bigger conversation about full legalization,” added Goldstein.

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For future updates on marijuana law reform efforts in Pennsylvania, follow Philly NORML by visiting their website and Facebook page!

2 thoughts

  1. This situation about decriminalization in these cities in Pennsylvania is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    While this is good news, the bad news is that decriminalization is completely moot if you get busted by cops in the York County Drug Task Force operating in the city. York city rejoined the task force since decriminalization. Note all the bags of marijuana in the picture in the article whose link is below.

    Cops love to pull you over or check out what people are doing sitting in their parked cars so that they can confiscate your car with asset forfeiture. Most of the people they bust for weed that are reported in the local newspapers are busted as a result of initial traffic stops or because of suspicious activity in a parked car or at a park. I see it in the paper almost every day.

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