Harrisburg City Council votes to limit marijuana penalties

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 6, 2016 6:37 AM

Shown is the view from the Pennsylvania Capitol building Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Harrisburg) -- Harrisburg city council has reduced the penalties for possessing marijuana and smoking it in public.

In the city, possessing a small amount of pot will be a summary offense -- similar to a traffic citation -- carrying a $75 fine.

Smoking pot will bring a $150 fine. 

If a person commits a third offense within five years, they must be charged with misdemeanor possession, which is the charge mandated under state law. 

Harrisburg police still have the option of charging a person with misdemeanor possession for a first offense, but the new law is meant to give police an option to enforce drug laws without leaving a person with an arrest record. 

Pittsburgh previously passed a similar ordinance to lower penalties for marijuana possession.

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