Legislation Would Make Marijuana Possession Ticketable Offense - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Legislation Would Make Marijuana Possession Ticketable Offense

Posted: Updated:
PHILADELPHIA -

Big changes may be on the way in the city of Philadelphia's war on drugs.

Legislation will be introduced in City Council on Thursday to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a ticketable offense. No more hand-cuffs and jail cell.

The idea is to free up tight resources and accept the reality of how these cases are prosecuted.

Four years ago, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams changed the way minor drug possession arrests were handled.

Instead of prosecuting in court, maybe asking for jail time, and saddling the offender with a criminal record, the new plan called for offenders to pay a 200-dollar fine and attend a drug education class.

Prosecutors saved time and resources and minor offenders caught a break: no jail time and no criminal record. This may be called the logical next step.

Philadelphia police made more than 4,200 arrests for simple possession of marijuana in 2012.

This is happening in a city where police resources are stretched thin and where those minor possession cases no longer result in jail time.

On Thursday, City Councilman Jim Kenney will introduce a bill that would cease custodial arrest. That's council-speak for no more jail time for small-time pot possession.

"To take an officer off the street for two hours or more, to fingerprint, photograph and book someone whose not going to be prosecuted anyway, seems to me a waste of time. It is a waste of time," Kenney said.

Instead, the offender would be ticketed, fined and sent to the district attorney's drug education classes.

It won't shock you to learn the measure has the full support of those who'd like to see pot legalized.

"Smoking marijuana or possessing a small amount of marijuana shouldn't be enough to get you put into handcuffs and taken to a police station any longer," Chris Goldstein of PhillyNORML said.

But the Kenney plan has also drawn interest from law enforcement types, who wonder whether police and prosecutors and jail cells are really necessary to handle the otherwise law-abiding kid with a joint in his pocket.

"I am not a proponent of legalization. l think I need to make that very clear. But certainly, if there are alternative ways of handling minor cases, then we need to take a look at it," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

"This will allow us to treat non-violent misdemeanants in a smarter way. This is part of being smart on crime," D.A. Williams said.

Passage of this bill is far from certain no lawmaker wants to look soft on crime.

But Kenney says it's also a matter of public safety: if one of these pot possession arrests goes wrong, the offender, the police officer, even an innocent bystander, could get hurt or even killed. All over a case that wasn't going to result in jail time, anyway.

  • Bruce Gordon ReportsMore>>

  • Getting Results: Residents Fed Up With Illegal Dumping

    Getting Results: Residents Fed Up With Illegal Dumping

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:21 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:21:23 GMT
    Two years ago, FOX 29 got the Streets Department to clean up the mess along the 3000 block of West Abbotsford Avenue where trash and overgrown weeds were forcing walkers to detour into busy traffic, well now, the problem has returned.
    Two years ago, FOX 29 got the Streets Department to clean up the mess along the 3000 block of West Abbotsford Avenue where trash and overgrown weeds were forcing walkers to detour into busy traffic, well now, the problem has returned.
  • Baby That Needs Specialized Formula Receives Overwhelming Support

    Baby That Needs Specialized Formula Receives Overwhelming Support

    Thursday, August 14 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-08-15 01:59:13 GMT
    Insurance policies have rules governing what's covered and what's not. Generally, they make sense. The rules are designed to prevent unreasonable costs from being passed along to the insurer, and by extension to other insurance customers. But listen to Sheree Kober's story. 
    Insurance policies have rules governing what's covered and what's not. Generally, they make sense. The rules are designed to prevent unreasonable costs from being passed along to the insurer, and by extension to other insurance customers. But listen to Sheree Kober's story. 

  • Getting Results: Resident Fed Up With Living Next To Vacant Home

    Getting Results: Resident Fed Up With Living Next To Vacant Home

    Wednesday, June 11 2014 10:24 PM EDT2014-06-12 02:24:23 GMT
    Fox 29 is working to get results for one local woman who fears for her safety.In a region filled with rowhomes, a homeowners’ worst nightmare is the home next door becoming vacant, and slowly disintegrating.Sharon Redwood says she's owned her home on West 6th Street in Chester, Delaware County, for most of her adult life.She says the place next door has been vacant for years.It’s become an eyesore, and a dangerous one at that."The roof has fallen from the third floor, down to the basement. (F...
    Fox 29 is working to get results for one local woman who fears for her safety.In a region filled with rowhomes, a homeowners’ worst nightmare is the home next door becoming vacant, and slowly disintegrating.Sharon Redwood says she's owned her home on West 6th Street in Chester, Delaware County, for most of her adult life.She says the place next door has been vacant for years.It’s become an eyesore, and a dangerous one at that."The roof has fallen from the third floor, down to the basement. (F...
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • FEELING LIKE FALL

    Monday, September 15 2014 8:20 PM EDT2014-09-16 00:20:35 GMT

    A chance of rain by Tuesday morning.

    Tuesday begins with clouds and a few early morning showers.  Most of the rain will be light and around a tenth of an inch is expected.  Sun and clouds by the afternoon. High 75.

    Tuesday (75/60): A.M. Showers

    Wednesday (74/54): Sunny/Mild

    Thursday (76/56): Sunny/Nice

    Friday (73/54): Sunny/Nice

    Saturday (75/55): Sun/Clouds

  • Police Looking For Man Who Robbed Princeton, NJ Bank

    Police Looking For Man Who Robbed Princeton, NJ Bank

    Monday, September 15 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-09-15 23:43:50 GMT
    Princeton Police are looking for the person who robbed a TD bank on Monday around 11:30am.Police were called to the TD Bank on State Rd. after a store employee reported they had just been robbed. According to police, a white male, 23-25 years old, approached a bank teller and passed a note saying that he was armed and demanded cash. The bank teller handed the robber cash in an envelope and the man left. No weapon was seen by the bank employees and no one was injured.Police searched the area b...
    Princeton Police are looking for the person who robbed a TD bank on Monday around 11:30am.Police were called to the TD Bank on State Rd. after a store employee reported they had just been robbed. According to police, a white male, 23-25 years old, approached a bank teller and passed a note saying that he was armed and demanded cash. The bank teller handed the robber cash in an envelope and the man left. No weapon was seen by the bank employees and no one was injured.Police searched the area b...
  • Burglar Caught Climbing Through Window in Havertown

    Burglar Caught Climbing Through Window in Havertown

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:29 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:29:52 GMT
    Paul E GiulianoPaul E Giuliano
    Haverford Police were called to the 1000 block of Allston Rd in Havertown on Monday morning after someone confronted a burglar climbing through a second floor window of their home.After being confronted, the man exited out of the same window and ran away. Officers responded to the area and located the man on East Township Line Road. When officers stopped him, he pushed a detective and continued running. After a short foot pursuit, he was taken into custody and identified as Paul E. Giuliano, ...
    Haverford Police were called to the 1000 block of Allston Rd in Havertown on Monday morning after someone confronted a burglar climbing through a second floor window of their home.After being confronted, the man exited out of the same window and ran away. Officers responded to the area and located the man on East Township Line Road. When officers stopped him, he pushed a detective and continued running. After a short foot pursuit, he was taken into custody and identified as Paul E. Giuliano, ...
Powered by WorldNow
Untitled

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices