Lancaster City Council is expected to take a step toward decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.
An ordinance, as written, would decriminalize possession of an ounce or less. The ordinance would also move the penalty for a first and second violation to a summary offense, which is similar to a traffic ticket.
“We want to make it 100 percent clear this is not legalization,” Council president James Reichenbach said. “That’s not what we’re going for at all. We’re viewing it through the lens of it’s really economics and a person’s future.”
Reichenbach pointed to research that shows people busted for small amounts of marijuana at a young age struggle with getting student loans, housing, and jobs.
“We look at it as something you pay your fine and you move forward and you’re able to continue to prosper going forward,” he said.
Rubi Nicholas with Lancaster NORML (National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws) said she could see how some would fear the move could be a step towards legalization.
Those against the proposal believe it could lead to more marijuana use.
The council could vote on the ordinance later this month.