Overhauled marijuana bill heads to Pittsburgh City Council

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 22, 2016 1:03 AM

FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. Marine, Mike Whiter lights a marijuana cigarette before he starts editing a video project at his home in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(Pittsburgh) -- An overhauled marijuana bill headed to Pittsburgh's City Council would charge those found in possession of the drug with only the violation of a city ordinance. 

The measure, which goes before the council today, stipulates that the charge would be violating an ordinance prohibiting "certain defined conduct'' and would contain no references to marijuana. 

The offense would still appear on the docket, but just as a violation of prohibited conduct. 

Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle says the bill would make it difficult for employers to uncover a drug violation through a simple court records search. 

He says supporters of changes to the Steel City's marijuana laws are seeking to craft legislation similar to that of Philadelphia, where violators are processed through a civil office. 

Harrisburg is also considering going down the same path blazed by Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

City council is exploring the decriminalization of marijuana possession.

Under a proposal, someone caught with up to 30 grams of marijuana would be cited and charged a fine -- $100 for the first violation, $200 the second time.

After the second citation, a violation would warrant a criminal charge.

Philadelphia saw a steep drop in marijuana citations after it decriminalized possession of small amounts in 2014.

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