Philly Police Memo on Weed Decrim: City Employees Must be Reported

Photo by NA Poe

Photo by NA Poe

By Kenneth Lipp

The Declaration has obtained a copy of the Philadelphia Police memorandum on the change in the City Code regarding marijuana possession, instructing officers that only under exceptional circumstances should they transport to a police station anyone found with 30 grams or less of marijuana. The change in the law will spare many Philadelphians a trip to jail and the financial and employment limitations that can come with a drug conviction, but people who work for the city who find themselves cited under the new ordinance may want to keep their employer to themselves.

The memo gives instructions on how to issue citations, on the exceptions and special conditions that can apply to various offenders found in possession of small amounts of pot, including what actions to take with juveniles, what to do when someone is found possessing synthetic or laced marijuana, and procedures on handling the evidence.

The memo also gives instructions that if an officer discovers that the person he is citing works for the City of Philadelphia, with the exception of the *police department, that person’s boss will be notified.

On the final page of the document: “….in the event it becomes known to the issuing officer that any individual cited for any City Code marijuana violation is an City f Philadelphia employee, notification shall be made through the chain of command to the employee’s Commissioner or Department Head.”

*In the case of a Philly police officer, the issuing officer’s supervisor is to notify Internal Affairs.

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About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

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