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Southeastern PA

Philadelphia City Council backs bill to decriminalize small amount of marijuana

Mayor Michael Nutter has not said whether he will sign bill

PHILADELPHIA - A veto-proof majority of Philadelphia City Council is supporting a bill to effectively decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The bill passed Thursday, 13-3, with every Democrat in favor of it and every Republican against it.

A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter would not immediately say whether the Democrat would sign it.

The measure would allow the police department to change its policy to no longer require officers to arrest somebody who is 18 and older for possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana. It would still be punishable by a $25 fine.

The bill's sponsor, Councilman Jim Kenney, said he estimates the new policy could save the police department and the courts $4 million a year.

Nutter does not have to act on the bill until September.

What's your take on the council's vote? Record a message at 610-871-0074 or email

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