Pittsburgh set for preliminary vote to reduce pot penalty

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh City Council is set to take a preliminary vote on an ordinance that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana or hashish.

Scores of supporters packed a council hearing Tuesday in favor of the ordinance, which will receive an initial vote Wednesday. If it passes, council must formally approve it in another vote – which is expected – and Mayor Bill Peduto says he’ll sign it.

If the ordinance passes, police could fine people $25 to $100 and seize the drugs as long as the person had less than 30 grams of marijuana. That’s about an ounce. People could have about eight grams of hash.

Supporters say the law would prevent people from having a criminal record for a minor offense that some argue disproportionately affects black people. Pittsburgh’s police chief is behind the move, too.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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