The city of West York, Pennsylvania is looking to lower penalties for marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to a simple fine. Mayor Shawn Mauck has proposed the ordinance in time for the police department to refocus their efforts on more serious crimes and dangerous street drugs like opioids. Under current policy, a misdemeanor for marijuana possession can not only comes with fines, but also jail time, which can cause normal citizens to lose jobs and make it harder to get hired in the future. Proposed fines would be $250 for possession of cannabis and $350 for smoking in public.
Currently, police can charge people in possession of a small amount of marijuana with a misdemeanor. The penalties can include fines and jail time, which could result in the loss of a job.
"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense," Mauck said. "We're ruining someone's life for a joint."
Under the proposed ordinance, police would be able to issue a summary to people with a small amount of weed. The proposed fines would be $250 for possession and $350 for smoking in public, although Mauck says he would like to see the fines be lower. By giving a fine, police would save the time and money of a court case