Neighborhood lawmakers in Steelton, Pennsylvania will take into account a program to decriminalize possession of tiny amounts of cannabis at a unique meeting of the borough council held on Tuesday evening. And in a move not typical with equivalent proposals in other jurisdictions, the concept has the help of the neighborhood chief of police.
Below the proposal, possession of much less than 30 grams of cannabis would no longer be regarded as a criminal offense for initial-time offenders. As an alternative, they would be charged with a summary offense and issued a fine of $25 to $100. Subsequent offenses would be topic to misdemeanor charges.
Steelton Chief of Police Anthony Minium told Higher Occasions in a phone interview that he supports the decriminalization proposal as a matter of justice. He mentioned that he has noticed in his private law enforcement encounter folks, ususally members of minority communities, who are treated harshly for possessing cannabis although far more affluent folks who commit far more significant offenses “were finding a break due to the fact they can afford a higher energy lawyer.”
“I figured it was time for somebody to take a stand and say ‘hey, let’s even the playing field,’” Minium mentioned.
Minium told neighborhood media that decriminalization would permit police and prosecutors to concentrate on far more significant crime.
“We are bogging down the criminal justice method appropriate now with marijuana charges,” mentioned Minium. “And I believe a lot of occasions if we can just do a summary offense on that then that is a speedy effortless way in and out of the method but nevertheless holding folks accountable for their actions.”
Chief Rejects Marijuana Myths
The chief clearly demonstrated that he has researched cannabis and has rejected prevailing misconceptions and propaganda.
“Marijuana is not this horrible drug that it is claimed to be,” Minium mentioned. “First of all, it is not a gateway like they claim, that is not a truth.”
Minium is also conscious of the racial motivations and justification for the criminalization of cannabis and mentioned that is time for reform.
“It’s sort of like the modern day-day Prohibition,” mentioned Minium. “There’s a lot of folks that smoke it who are in higher-powered positions. They go to perform just about every day. There’s health-related advantage to it. Why wouldn’t we make this step to make it legal?”
Minium believes that there is a superior possibility that the borough council will approve the decriminalization bid, saying that “I believe we do have a majority.” The proposal to decriminalize cannabis is also supported by Steelton Mayor Maria Marcinko.
“We are normally attempting to do cutting edge issues and I think this will be a superior factor,” mentioned Marcinko. “The neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhood sees we are progressive and we are significant about moving forward on hot button subjects.”
Minium also noted that the council will also be contemplating an additional proposal that goes beyond decriminalization.
“We’re also searching at the legalization of it in the borough itself. But that is going to take a tiny bit far more of an argument, and once again I help that as effectively. That does not permit you to stroll down Front Street or drive a automobile beneath the influence. What it enables you to do, in your personal private household, is not have the worry of us kicking in the door for a tiny joint.”
Police Assistance for Cannabis Reform Expanding
Diane Goldstein, the board chair of nonprofit criminal justice reform group the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, mentioned that law enforcement leaders are gradually starting to recognize the advantages of eliminating the prohibition of marijuana. A retired lieutenant with the Redondo Beach Police Division in California, she mentioned that she would rather see tax dollars spent on lab perform to test rape kits alternatively of confiscated cannabis. Goldstein applauded Minium for standing up for the reform of cannabis laws.
“This is a incremental, intelligent step by this police chief who understands that the public has absolutely swung about on this concern and recognizes that if you are in your residence, in private, and you are not out driving or committing crimes, it is a waste of sources for his law enforcement agency to continue to go out and arrest and prosecute,” Goldstein told Higher Occasions.