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Why Did Philadelphia Drop 51 Marijuana Possession Charges Last Week?

Philadelphia has now joined the cause of many cities fighting to decriminalize marijuana possession across the board. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced this week he was dropping dozens of marijuana possession criminal charges and would not pursue charges of that nature. Last week the city dropped charges against 51 people.

“We are going to tell them, yes, drop any cases that are simply marijuana possession,” Krasner said in a press conference.

Krasner revealed that such intentions would only involve basic marijuana possession cases. Charges of marijuana with intent to sell would still be pursued by law enforcement agencies. Krasner says the change in policy was in part because he believes police resources would be better utilized elsewhere.

“I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do,” Krasner said. “We could use those resources to solve homicides.”

Krasner’s announcement builds upon changes four years ago in local policies that allowed law enforcement to issue citations for marijuana policies. This allowed police to simply address the crime as a misdemeanor and issue a fine. Krasner said 90 percent of marijuana possession charges ended in citation.

Earlier this month, Seattle announced it would wipe away all misdemeanor charges left from before Washington legalized marijuana. San Francisco was the first city to initiate such change when the city announced it would retroactively apply California’s new legalized laws to dismiss thousands of previous convictions.


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