York City council members introduce ordinance to decriminalize marijuana

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YORK -- York City is now the second municipality in York County where council members are looking to decriminalize marijuana.

Judy Ritter-Dickson, a city council member, said, "Marijuana is not as serious as some of the other crimes that are going on out here."

At a city council meeting, members introduced an ordinance that would make people pay a fine if they are found in possession or use of 30 grams or less of marijuana, instead of facing jail time.

Some people who spoke at the meeting were in support of the ordinance.

Franklin Williams, from York, said, "The last words of that pledge are, 'With liberty and justice for all.' You will have a chance in July to give real meaning to those words."

Council plans to vote on the ordinance at its meeting in July. If it passes, the fine would be $100 for a first-time offense.

Ritter-Dickson said, "When you start going to people's pocketbooks, and their savings, and their cash they have saved up, it's going to hurt."

The fines would then increase for a second or third offense within five years. After the third offense, that violators would face criminal charges.

Ritter-Dickson said, "We're giving you a chance. Don't take advantage of it and keep doing it and thinking that it's going to be that way."

Other people who live in York said it would prevent kids' lives from being ruined and give law enforcement officials time to crack down on more serious crimes.

Tina Charles, from York, said, "A friend might have been smoking a joint. There's a little roach, a little piece in the car, and they're getting hit with possession of marijuana. I've seen kids lose their educational opportunity because of that."

Jeffrey Kirkland, also of York, said, "I'm hoping the York City council will take it within their hearts and try to do the right thing for all people involved in this process."