Pot and the 2015 Philadephia Democratic Mayoral Primary: Where the candidates stand


OTHER ISSUES IN THE MAYOR’S RACE: Technology and Innovation | Education | Energy and the Environment | Policing | TransportationMinimum wage

Philadelphia instituted a decriminalization of marijuana bill last fall and, since then, arrests for possession of a small amount of marijuana have decreased dramatically. But would the next mayor keep it around?

Here’s where they stand:

Lynne Abraham

Abraham says she supports decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use — a flip-flop from a previous stance. She does not, however, support decriminalization for children and adolescents. Also from her campaign: Abraham says the Council ordinance that requires police to write a $25 ticket for possession will not be enforced, because she believes it’s unnecessary and has a disparate economic effect and diverts police from more important activities.

Nelson Diaz

Diaz is for the full legalization of marijuana for recreational use, not just decriminalization, and believes it should be taxed at 15 percent — slightly higher than the tax on alcohol.

Jim Kenney

As a city councilman, Kenney championed the city’s marijuana decriminalization bill — so it’s safe to say he’d keep it around. Kenney’s been pretty open about toking up in the past, and says he would be open to taxing and regulating the use of recreational pot if it were to be legalized here in the city.

Doug Oliver

Doug Oliver says he supports Kenney’s decriminalization bill and would move for marijuana legalization for medical purposes.

T. Milton Street

Milton Street wanted to decriminalize marijuana statewide more than 30 years ago. Maybe he was just ahead of his time.

Anthony Williams

Williams has said that decriminalization is the right approach, telling Philly.com that: “Our prisons are overcrowded, and nearly 300,000 Philadelphians, disproportionately people of color, have a criminal record that keeps them from fully participating in our society.” He doesn’t support legalizing marijuana for recreational use, but says he’d be open to taxing it if it were one day legalized.

Let the news come to you

Billy Penn’s free morning newsletter brings you the latest Philly news that everyone will be talking about in your Slack channel.

Nice to see you (instead of a paywall)

Billy Penn’s mission is to provide free, quality information to Philadelphians through our articles and daily newsletter. If you believe local journalism is key to a healthy community, join us!

Did you hear that?

That was the sound of you being informed after reading another BP article. If you believe local information should be free and accessible to all Philadelphians, will you support Billy Penn today?

Informing Philadelphians, one story at a time

Your generous donation brought this article to life. Become a sustaining member today to continue Billy Penn’s work.

Bring a friend into the Billy Penn-verse

Thanks for reading another story! Know a fellow Philadelphian that would appreciate BP? Tell them about our newsletter.


Nelson Diaz