Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Dropped Marijuana Possession Charges Against 51 People
PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said at a press conference Thursday that he had dropped marijuana possession charges against 51 people en masse, according to NBC News Philadelphia.
The new DA said he would be outlining a new straight forward policy where minor marijuana possession charges should be avoided, saying "We are going to tell them, yes, drop any cases that are simply marijuana possession," said Krasner.
The move to decriminalize misdemeanor marijuana possessions was introduced by former city councilman and current Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. The policy gave the city’s police the power to issue tickets for marijuana possession instead of making an arrest. The policy had been enforced over the past 4 years by former District Attorney Seth Williams and former Mayor Michael Nutter.
Krasner said 90 percent of stops for marijuana possession now receive a citation where before the stop would result in an arrest, adding that he had spoken to Police Commissioner Richard Ross and advised him of the new policy. About 10 percent are still charged as misdemeanors requiring a court date.
Krasner said that if an officer does arrest someone for simple marijuana possession, the charges will be dropped from now on, saying of the 51 cases already dropped that "I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do," he said. "We could use those resources to solve homicides."
The DA said that the laws have only been enforced in predominately poor, black and brown neighborhoods, not Chestnut Hill. Krasner hopes that the new policy will decrease the disproportionate number of minorities targeted for stops and arrests by law enforcement. The new policy only applies to possession. Marijuana possession with the intent to distribute penalties will not change.