Erie City Council members are considering an ordinance that would change how police charge people, who are caught with small amounts of marijuana.

As it stands right now, under state law, marijuana possession is a criminal misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail, a $500.00 fine, or both.

If passed, the new ordinance would change the possession charge from a misdemeanor to a summary offense.

According to Erie City Councilman Bob Merski, council members are still sorting out the details, but under the new ordinance, first-time offenders who are caught with under 30 grams of marijuana, would receive a $250.00 dollar fine, with no jail time.

The charge would also not go on your record.

In Pennsylvania, there are currently five cities and the Borough of State College that have similar laws in place.

Those cities are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, York, and Reading.

Merski says those in possession should be held responsible, but the punishment should fit the crime.

"What we're doing, is lessening the penalty so that people can pay their debt to society and move on with their lives,” said Merski.  “These mostly are non-violent citizens who have done nothing else wrong in society, so, I think to punish them for life is a disservice to our community and a disservice to those people because it carries with you your whole life."

Erie News Now also reached out to Erie Police Chief Don Dacus to get his take on this ordinance.

“Our job is to enforce the laws on the books and to not render legal opinions.” said Chief Dacus.

Merski says Erie City Council will seek public input on the ordinance, before any action is taken.