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Marijuana decriminalization, a year in

It's been a year since Philadelphia decriminalized small amounts of marijuana. How's it going? And could further steps towards legality be in the offing under a new mayor?
Philly blunt: Possessing a small amount of marijuana or smoking some in public has been decriminalized here for exactly one year today, and the city hasn't gone up in smoke.

In fact, since decriminalization took effect, police have cited 73 percent fewer people than they arrested for possessing weed during the same time period in the year prior to decriminalization.

And if mayoral candidate Jim Kenney has his way, citations for marijuana users may become a thing of the past, too.

"I'm not interested in issuing citations, either. We'll get to that conversation at the appropriate time next year," Kenney told the 
Daily News. "As time goes on, I don't know if there's going to be a need for any kind of punishment."

As a councilman, Kenney championed the decriminalization bill. He said he did so because Philadelphia was the only municipality in the state still physically arresting people for possessing a small amount of weed and the city was arresting black pot smokers at five times the rate of white ones.

"I think it's pretty hypocritical in a state that licenses, sells and taxes alcohol - that actually runs alcohol-dispensing stores - to say that marijuana rises to the level of an opiate," Kenney said. "It's not necessary, productive or good for the community."

Original source: Daily News
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