Erie, York, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, State College are all cities within the state of Pennsylvania that have decided not to wait for state officials, when it comes to the topic of Marijuana. These cities have recognized the real daily damage done by the current system and have used their perspective local powers to reduce the penalty for small amounts of marijuana within their city limits.
With this continuing trend many groups have taken to the cause of reaching out to local officials to inquire about the possibility of something similar in their towns. That includes this group.
Recently Easton, Pennsylvania made headlines because they were considering a vote to pursue decriminalization. Members of The Freedom Paradox were joined by many other members of their local community as well as several organizations, to speak with the city council about our feelings on the issue.
Freedom Paradox member, Severin Freeman delivered a personal and heartfelt message that seemed to hit home with a number of people. (Video Of Freeman is located at the top of the article. Full Video of all of nights speakers can be found at the bottom of the article or HERE)
Easton City Council is researching an ordinance that would lessen penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia.
The ordinance wouldn’t overrule or replace the state’s laws but could open up a softer penalty option to police officers within the city.
With audience support, council member Peter Melan introduced the resolution at Wednesday’s council meeting, asking the city solicitor to research an ordinance offering alternative penalties for marijuana possession.
Attorney Joshua Fulmer, whose letters to council helped kickstart the evening’s discussion, said the city should support a local approach to lessening marijuana convictions.
While the legalization of marijuana is supported nationally and in some states, support at the Pennsylvania level is lagging, Fulmer said.
Fulmer, who works in criminal law, said the secondary effects of marijuana convictions affect the ability of teens and young adults to apply for college grants, receive certain housing or to have a driver’s license.
Ultimately, Fulmer said possession should be treated with more flexibility — as a civil matter in some cases or offering community service instead of a conviction in others.
Jeff Riedy, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley NORML, which seeks to reform marijuana laws, suggested York, another third class city under state law, as a source of guidance.
Riedy said New Jersey was set for legalization within three months, which would leave Pennsylvania enforcing harsh penalties that affect someone’s ability to vote or apply for housing and financial aid.
“The national trend is toward the acceptance of marijuana,” Riedy said.
Easton resident Laini Abraham appealed to council to act on a marijuana possession ordinance before New Jersey legalized marijuana in 2018.
With Easton on the border of New Jersey, Abraham questioned how the city would handle the people returning across the Free Bridge with marijuana legally purchased.
If you support this effort please head over to our public pages on Facebook and follow them. You can find Severin Freeman's public page HERE
You can find The Freedom Paradox's Public Page HERE
Be sure to keep checking back as we take on this battle. We will be launching several groups soon to focus our efforts. Speaking of which, we would love your ideas for a group name. Send a message to either of the above pages if you have a cool name idea for a group based out of the Lehigh Valley that will focus on decriminalization of marijuana. We are looking for something catchy and easily identifiable.
Till then, always remember, that you have rights. Learn then. Use them.
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