Pittsburgh Ponders Marijuana Decriminalization

On Nov. 17, 2015, Pittsburgh City Councilman Daniel Lavelle introduced a city ordinance aimed at decriminalizing marijuana possession. According to Next Pittsburgh, the proposed ordinance would make possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana or eight grams of hashish a civil violation punishable by up to a $100 fine.

In a press release, Lavelle explained that too much time is spent enforcing marijuana laws and that too many lives are “destroyed by the unnecessarily harsh consequences that come with the most minor marijuana offenses.”

Patrick Nightingale, executive director of the Pittsburgh chapter of NORML and a local criminal defense lawyer, told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that local law enforcement supports the measure.

“Our police don’t want to deal with this,” Nightingale said.

Currently, there is no timetable as to when the city council will take up the ordinance.

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