Recently the State College Borough Council passed a rule allowing State College Police to charge a person with a borough ordinance for marijuana possession rather than charging them with a state criminal offense of possession, a misdemeanor. The police would be permitted to issue a non-traffic citation to anyone possessing marijuana. The penalty in the ordinance is $250 for possession and $350 for smoking in a public place.
The ordinance, however, effects only marijuana possession in the Borough of State College. It does not apply to the Penn State Campus or the surrounding townships of Harris, College, Patton and Ferguson. Police in those other jurisdictions presumably will still be filing misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession under the state criminal code.
Additionally, an officer presumably could choose to file the offense as a misdemeanor rather than under the borough ordinance.
So before returning Penn State students think they will get off with a small fine for marijuana possession, if you are not in the borough of State College you are still looking at a criminal charge under the state’s crimes code which with much heftier penalties and potential for a permanent criminal record.