Harrisburg City Council gets input from public about marijuana penalties

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Harrisburg City Council held its Public Safety Committee meeting Thursday evening.

Dozens of people gathered in a meeting room at HACC’s Midtown Campus to talk about the city’s proposed plan to lessen the penalties for marijuana possession.

Councilman Cornelius Johnson says marijuana charges can have a long lasting impact on someone looking for a second chance.

“A simple charge can be tough for many to bounce back from.” said Johnson “We see people being hindered in terms of employment, or applying for financial aid, and even enrolling in the military.”

A first offender in possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana would be fined $100 as long as there was no intent to distribute or sell. A second offence would draw a $200 dollar fine.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse said there were 433 marijuana cases in Harrisburg in 2015. There were 23 small possession charges and 410 were small possession and additional charges. Papenfuse said that 338 cases involved African Americans, 57 were white, and the remaining 37 involved Hispanics.

The next public hearing will take place on March 24 at the Public Works Building on Paxton Street.

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