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Carlisle councilman calls for decriminalization of marijuana in the borough
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Carlisle

Carlisle councilman calls for decriminalization of marijuana in the borough

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A Carlisle borough councilman called on colleagues to consider decriminalizing marijuana Thursday.

“Like the prohibition of alcohol, the criminalization of cannabis has proven itself a failure. Other communities across our nation and across our state have acknowledged this truth,” councilman Jeff Stuby said. “Today, I am calling on Carlisle to recognize this reality and decriminalize cannabis.”

Following Stuby’s remarks, which came near the end of the borough council’s regular monthly meeting, Mayor Tim Scott agreed to add the discussion to next month’s borough council workshop agenda. That meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 30.

In his remarks, Stuby said racist and xenophobic motivations were behind criminalizing marijuana and that those effects are still being felt as Black people are arrested at disproportionally higher rates for possessing a small amount of marijuana.

“This disparity exists even here in our community,” Stuby said.

As the borough discusses policing in the community, he said it makes sense to look at what offenses are prioritized and what the penalties are for those offenses.

“In Carlisle, someone can legally walk in public on a downtown street and drink a beer or smoke a cigarette, but if that same person consumes cannabis in the privacy of their own home, they face arrest and criminal charges that threaten to derail their life. This makes no sense. It is unjust. And it is in our power to fix,” he said.

Stuby said the borough could look to Harrisburg, York, Steelton and Lancaster for guidance since each of those municipalities decriminalized the possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use.

Council members didn’t comment on Stuby’s remarks at the meeting, but councilman Sean Crampsie expressed support for decriminalization on Twitter, thanking Stuby for taking the lead on the issue and saying decriminalization “could be a great first step in decreasing our prison population for a drug with medical benefits.”

Email Tammie at tgitt@cumberlink.com. Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.

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