Mayor still undecided on Council's weed bill

Posted: August 07, 2014

WHATEVER CHANCE it had of gaining Mayor Nutter's support, City Council's small-amount-of-marijuana bill may have been lost in a media skirmish between the mayor and Councilman Jim Kenney.

Both politicos have upped their fervor both for and against a measure that would give police officers the discretion to write a ticket carrying a $25 fine for possessors of an ounce of weed or less.

"My problem is his arrogance relating to this issue. It is astounding, and clearly he has not been living in the real world for the last 5 1/2 to six years," Kenney said.

"His misguided policy of stop-and-frisk has been shown to be a deterrent between community-police relations. So, where his head is, I have no idea. I find it regressive and disappointing."

For months now, Kenney has said the city wastes resources rounding up roughly 400 people a month for petty violations that result in arrest records for those pinched with pot.

Nutter promised he would take the summer to look over the bill, but was unable to say yesterday whether he would veto it. Kenney maintains majority support from his Council colleagues, and the bill would become law in several months with or without Nutter's signature.

The mayor criticized Kenney's bill for potentially giving false impressions to people that smoking weed in public is somehow OK.

"If you're doing it in your house, that's one thing, but if you're out on the street deteriorating the quality of life from guys on the corner - guys sitting on my steps - then that is a real issue and a problem," Nutter said.

"It goes beyond just the police showing up, handing someone a ticket and walking away."

"My thought," Kenney said, "was that [Nutter] would sign the bill on [June] 19th and use these three months to change Police Department policy to implement the bill.

"Instead, he will have used the three-month legislative recess to do nothing."

Kenney stopped short of accusing the mayor himself of smoking dope in college days.

"In 1976 or 1977, if a young, African-American male was stopped possessing a small amount of marijuana, was arrested and given an arrest record, could that person be mayor today?" he asked.

On Twitter: @RuffTuffDH

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