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State College Borough To Vote On Reduced Marijuana Penalties

The State College Borough Council will vote this evening to reclassify marijuana possession as a summary offense, which would effectively make penalties for possession of a small amount equivalent to a parking ticket.

The ordinance, if approved, would make possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana a summary offense instead of a misdemeanor, which would be a monumental distinction — one worth hundreds of dollars and a lifetime of headaches that comes from having a criminal record.

The Borough Council last discussed the ordinance in detail at the end of May. A number of students and other community members attended the meeting and spoke up in support of the decriminalization, while only two townsfolk spoke in opposition.

Former State College Police Chief Tom King spoke in support of the change, noting the serious ramifications students face for what many consider a trivial offense. Pennsylvania’s Democratic senate candidate Katie McGinty even released a video endorsing the change yesterday.

It is still unclear what will happen on campus, which is technically considered University Park, not bound by Borough laws, and under the Penn State Police jurisdiction. Smoking the ganja will almost certainly still result in student conduct code violation, and King said that “Penn State Police do not routinely, or at all, enforce any Borough ordinances” when it was discussed at the last meeting.

The Borough Council will meet at 7 p.m. in the State College Borough building on Allen Street, and anyone is welcome to attend. If you’re not in town, you can watch the meeting live here.

About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to [email protected], or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.

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