North York borough, a small borough in York, Pennsylvania, might decriminalize cannabis at a small level, making it one in a line of local Pennsylvania counties that have taken this step. 

Despite the tiny town size of about 2,200 residents, this is still making the news because of the slow progress Pennsylvania has made on the legalization front. Terry Duncan, a former mayor who operates a shop on North George Street, spoke about the issue and his stance on it. He believes that it could be helpful, but still is a bit skeptical of what it could lead to. 

“I have mixed feelings about it. I don’t have a problem with decriminalizing on a small scale. If you are bringing in kilos of it, that is a different story,” he says.

In 2023, 24 adults were arrested for cannabis in the town. This may seem like a low number until you consider the low number of residents in the area. Currently, a proposed ordinance would make it so that having less than an ounce of cannabis would result in a mere $50 fine. Jail time would not be on the table, leaving residents free to keep a clear record. 

Borough Manager Dr. David Bolton thinks that most people would support this. 

He says, “It is the right thing to do. People make mistakes. If somebody is out there and they do something stupid, they are not going to pay for it the rest of their lives.”

He claims that decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana is not an endorsement for using drugs.

“By no means are we saying, ‘Go out and try this.’ What we are saying is if you are already doing it, do it responsibly,” he says.

Other areas in the Susquehanna Valley, including areas like York, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Abbottstown have already taken action. The vote on this issue will happen March 12, and, if voted into local ordinance, will kick in five days after the vote. Then it will become the next area to take this more liberal stance on cannabis.

The ordinance was initially considered in February, and was only ever discussed at the small level of once ounce or less. The new fine will hopefully improve tourism in the area and keep non-offenders out of prison. 

Additionally, the ordinance would propose $50 for having cannabis paraphernalia. This would allow folks who were simply recreating to only pay a small fee. 

Those in support of this ordinance hope it would reduce the negative impacts of cannabis arrests on residents and visitors, especially regarding criminal records and other permanent marks that would keep folks from gaining employment or other things that require a background check. This would also free up local law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes and leave low-level offenders alone. 

Because other counties in the area have decriminalized cannabis, it is not unlikely that this will pass. If it does, this will be a major win for the local cannabis community. And the fact that this is happening on such a small scale highlights the growing debate around cannabis and its legality.

The post Pennsylvania Borough Working on Cannabis Decriminalization appeared first on High Times.