Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s District Attorney Larry Krasner dropped 51 cases for simple cannabis possession last week, part of his new policy to not prosecute such crimes, NBC Philadelphia reports. The prosecution reforms will not apply to possession charges with intent to deliver or sell cannabis.
“We are going to tell them, yes, drop any cases that are simply marijuana possession. … I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do. We could use those resources to solve homicides.” – Krasner to NBC Philadelphia
The policy builds on reforms introduced four years ago by Mayor Jim Kenney when he was a city councilman. They were adopted by then-Mayor Michael Nutter and Krasner’s predecessor Seth Williams. Krasner explained that 90 percent of the time police issue the citation for simple possession, but 10 percent of the time officers still attempt to treat possession as a misdemeanor – it’s those cases that will be affected by the DA’s directive.
Under the 2014 law, simple possession charges are met with a $25 fine and a $100 fine for smoking cannabis in public; however, the smoking in public fine can be waved following several hours of community service.