The city's new district attorney and the state Supreme Court are moving to all but decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use in an effort to unclog Philadelphia's crowded court dockets.
Under a policy to take effect later this month, prosecutors will charge such cases as summary offenses rather than as misdemeanors. People arrested with up to 30 grams of the drug—slightly more than an ounce—may have to pay a fine but face no risk of a criminal record.
"We have to be smart on crime," said District Attorney Seth Williams, who took office in January. "We can't declare a war on drugs by going after the kid who's smoking a joint on 55th Street. We have to go after the large traffickers."
D.C., meanwhile, seems content to move slowly on a plan to allow limited distribution of medical marijuana.