Possessing or smoking a small amount of marijuana in the city of Pittsburgh will be punishable by a summary offense, rather than a misdemeanor as state law mandates, Pittsburgh City Council decreed today.
Council voted 8-1, with the lone nay vote from Councilwoman Darlene Harris who consistently argued that decriminalization must happen on the state or federal level.
Mayor Bill Peduto is expected to sign the amended ordinance within 10 days, making it law.
Under the rule, Pittsburgh police could issue a summary citation punishable by a fine of $100 for smoking or $25 for possession of a small amount of marijuana. That would appear on a criminal record as violating “certain defined conduct” rather than including words such as marijuana or controlled substance, making it harder to search for in a person’s criminal record.
Summaries can be expunged in five years if the defendant is convicted and do not require the defendant to be fingerprinted or to appear at a preliminary hearing. [Read more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]