Officials in Meadville are trying to soften the punishment if you are caught with a small amount of marijuana.
Currently, if you’re arrested with a small amount of marijuana, you would be cited with a misdemeanor offense. There would be a long process going through the court systems, which could be in the thousands of dollars.
Now, the proposed ordinance would be a $300 fine and a citation similar to a traffic ticket.
The new ordinance would cut the fees for the offender and the city. Meadville City Councilman Jim Roha says they keep the lions share of fees generated.
“We are not paying an officer overtime to go to court and the person does not have to retain an attorney,” said Jim Roha, Meadville City Councilman. “They don’t have to miss work so it’s basically a win win situation.”
Supporters argue the bottom line is they want justice to be efficient and equitable without tying up their officers. They don’t want to mess someone’s life up because of one mistake.
“Oh, sorry we can’t graduate from Allegheny because we can’t get student loans anymore, or I really wanted to be a police officer but with a misdemeanor on my record. I can’t do it and not enough time has passed for it to be expunged,” Roha said.
Some residents say it boils down to a matter of responsibility.
“No matter what, you are going to always have people that see it from both sides and are looking at it, are you going to do it and act stupid? You deserve what happens.” said Brian Griesbaum, resident of Meadville.
Roha says this ordinance does not include medical marijuana. He says last night was the passage of the first and second readings. He expects that the ordinance will pass at the next meeting set for October 20th. It will go into effect 30 days after its passed.
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