State College Borough Council Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana
The State College Borough Council approved an ordinance decriminalizing the possession of marijuana by a vote of 5 to 2 Monday evening. The ordinance effectively changes the penalty for possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana to a non-traffic citation and a fine of $250, as well as a fine of $350 for smoking marijuana in public.
A few council members were also vocal about their support of the ordinance, including councilman Evan Myers who said “Penn State needs to get on the side of the students… We can take action and we should take action.”
The approved ordinance is comparable to similar enactments in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, where the number of arrests for possession of marijuana dropped 73 percent according to Philly.com.
Council president Thomas Daubert and Council member Catherine Dauler were the only two to vote against the ordinance.
During discussion of the ordinance, one of the major topics brought up was the challenges faced with enforcing the ordinance throughout the different townships. Penn State Police do not enforce borough ordinances and informed the council that due to state and federal funding requirements, the university will continue to enforce state law concerning possession of marijuana under the Pennsylvania Crime Codes.
A proposal for the ordinance was brought up during the March 12 meeting. The council discussed the matter on April 4, and finally voted to approve the ordinance tonight.