Manor Township supervisors are set to vote on a proposed ordinance next week that would set a more lenient penalty for marijuana possession.
The ordinance would target first-time offenders found in possession of small amounts of marijuana. It would set fines of between $300 and $500 for marijuana use, possession or possession of relevant paraphernalia.
The ordinance defines a “small amount” of marijuana the same way it’s defined in state law: 30 grams or less of marijuana or 8 grams or less of hashish, a concentrated form of the drug.
While police officers would have discretion whether to issue the summary charge for the first violation, any subsequent violation would be subject only to a misdemeanor charge as defined by state law.
Maximum state penalties for a misdemeanor marijuana conviction include a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail. Such convictions can also have long-term impacts in job and housing prospects.
A judge may reduce the fine of a first-time offense to $75 and impose community service or court-mandated drug prevention program at their discretion, according to the ordinance.
If passed, Manor would be at least the third municipality to establish a marijuana ordinance.
Lancaster city approved a marijuana ordinance last September. Millersville has had one since 2015.
However, Manor’s ordinance would be the most strict of the three with its one-strike penalty.
Lancaster city and Millersville both have three tiers of fines for first-, second- and third-time offenses. Lancaster’s first-time fine is $25, and Millersville’s is $300.
The introductory section of the proposed ordinance states the ordinance is “not to promote or condone possession or use of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia.”
Manor Township supervisors will vote on the ordinance during its meeting Monday at the township building, 950 Fairway Drive. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.