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||Posted January 10, 2011 by phillynormlmedia
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office is calling a new set of procedures for minor pot cases a success and plans to continue with the Small Amount of Marijuana (SAM) program.
Last year the Pennsylvania Supreme Court worked with the new DA, Seth Williams, to make a pragmatic change in how the justice system deals with marijuana possession of 30 grams or less. A new program was created that includes a diversion court appearance, an education class and fees of $200. The major difference is that there is no longer an instant criminal prosecution. The offender pleads to a non-drug related charge that is automatically expunged from their record.
PhillyNORML's Chris Goldstein spoke with Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Joe McGettigan about the new marijuana policy. McGettigan said that the SAM program is working, "Look, certainly this was a much better option than sending all these people into the criminal court last year for misdemeanors," said McGettigan.
The DA’s office provided the following figures related to the SAM program:
June 2010 to September 2010
1636 marijuana possession cases less than 30g TOTAL
339 bench warrants issued for failure to appear
1297 marijuana possession cases less than 30g are heard
1025 enter the Small Amount of Marijuana diversion program ( 79% )
81 went to trial
187 statuses continued
4 cases withdrawn READ MORE- http://www.examiner.com/norml-in-philadelphia/philadelphia-city-saving-time-and-money-with-new-pot-procedure