Proposed ordinance aimed at decriminalizing marijuana in West York
Borough officials consider decriminalizing marijuana to help revenue and fight harder crime. The proposed ordinance would lessen penalties for having small amounts of marijuana making charges equivalent to a parking violation.
"We have to reduce penalties because having the threat of jail for thirty days is not right,” said Les Stark, Director of the Keystone Cannabis Coalition.
Currently, if caught with marijuana in West York, you could face 30 days or more in jail on top of fines. Some residents say reduce the penalty while others say not so fast.
"Pennsylvania right now is not ready to go there and I say neither should we,” said one concerned West York resident.
"My concern is for the kids, bottom line it's still illegal,” said Ruth Landis, West York.
Under this proposed ordinance police officers would use discretion to charge and fine someone with 30 grams or less without arrest.
"Still keeping it a criminal offense, however just lowering the grading in certain cases so that way you pay the fine,” said Matt Millsaps, Chief of Police.
The fine is up to one hundred dollars that would go directly to the borough. West York Mayor Shawn Mauck says possession of marijuana will still not be taken so lightly.
"We're still holding people accountable for their actions but we also recognize that a small use of marijuana doesn't make you America's most wanted and it doesn't carry the weight of a misdemeanor where they are loosing their driving privileges for six months,” said Shawn Mauck, West York Mayor.
The ultimate goal is to free up an already small police force to handle much bigger issues.
"We have to look at doing business intelligently we're we can free up their resources so they can combat the crime in your neighborhood and mine and everybody else's,” said Mauck.
West York plans to vote on the ordinance in the coming weeks.