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File #: 2016-0231    Version: 1
Type: Ordinance Status: Passed Finally
File created: 3/18/2016 In control: Committee on Public Safety Services
On agenda: 3/22/2016 Final action: 4/5/2016
Enactment date: 4/5/2016 Enactment #: 9
Effective date: 4/7/2016    
Title: Ordinance amending Title 6: Conduct, Article 1: Regulated Rights and Actions by adding section 626 627 providing for the assessment of a civil fine for the possession of small amounts of cannabis in the certain defined conduct in the City of Pittsburgh under certain terms and conditions.
Sponsors: R. Daniel Lavelle
Indexes: PGH. CODE ORDINANCES TITLE 06 - CONDUCT
Title
Ordinance amending Title 6: Conduct, Article 1: Regulated Rights and Actions by adding section 626 627 providing for the assessment of a civil fine for the possession of small amounts of cannabis in the certain defined conduct in the City of Pittsburgh under certain terms and conditions.

Body
WHEREAS, in Pittsburgh approximately 1,000 individuals are charged annually with possessing a "small amount" of marijuana, defined as 30 grams or less of marijuana possessed for personal use. Police officers are required to appear for a Court hearing in every case where possession of a "small amount" is charged; and

WHEREAS, the City of Pittsburgh Police Department and the Office of the District Attorney of Allegheny County have regularly and routinely reduced all "small amount"/minor marijuana possession charges to a summary offense with the payment of a fine; and

WHEREAS, merely being charged with a controlled substances violation can result in the loss of employment and housing opportunities, especially public housing opportunities; and

WHEREAS, a growing number of States and Cities have recently passed laws as it pertains to the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana possessed for non-medical personal use. In 2012 the City of Chicago moved to decriminalize small amounts allowing police to issue tickets instead of making an arrest. In 2014 Washington D.C. passed a similar ordinance providing for a $25.00 fine for possession of a small amount; and

WHEREAS, the expungement procedure is lengthy and financially burdensome. Failure to properly expunge a cannabis possessory offense will result in said offense remaining on a person's criminal history despite the charge having been resolved as a summary offense; and

WHEREAS, racial minorities in the City of Pittsburgh, predominantly black males, are charged with minor possessory offenses five times more often than their white colleagues despite similar rates of usage; and

WHEREAS, the City of Pittsburg...

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