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Breaking: Rhode Island General Assembly Overwhelmingly Backs Marijuana Decriminalization Measures

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 5, 2012

    By a vote of more than 2 to 1, members of the Rhode Island General Assembly today approved legislation to significantly reduce the state’s criminal marijuana possession penalties.

    Members of the House and Senate passed twin bills, House Bill 7092 and Senate Bill 2253, which amend state law so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by an individual 18 years or older is reduced from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $500 maximum fine) to a non-arrestable civil offense — punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. You can read NORML’s testimony in favor of these measures here.

    House Bill 7092/Senate Bill 2253 now await concurrence votes, after which time they will be sent to Gov. Lincoln Chafee. [Update: In a radio interview this morning, Gov. Chafee stated that he is ‘inclined’ to sign the measures into law. Read the full summary of Chafee’s remarks here.] If you reside in Rhode Island, you can contact Gov. Chafee on behalf of these measures here.

    According to a 2012 statewide poll, commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project, 65 percent of Rhode Island’s residents are in favor of decriminalization. In recent years, neighboring Connecticut (in 2011) and Massachusetts (in 2009, via a voter-approved initiative) have enacted similar marijuana decriminalization laws.

    Rhode Island lawmakers have previously approved legislation legalizing the possession and state-licensed distribution of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    Presently, in eight states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Oregon — the private, non-medical possession of marijuana by an adult is defined under the law as a civil, non-criminal offense.

    Five additional states — Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio — treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense. Alaska law imposes no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults.

    In all other states, marijuana possession for personal use remains a criminal offense — punishable by an arrest, potential incarceration, and a criminal record.

    41 Responses to “Breaking: Rhode Island General Assembly Overwhelmingly Backs Marijuana Decriminalization Measures”

    1. Alex says:

      Fantastic! legalize freedom.

    2. aoneone says:

      Still have not received an answer to this.

      Does anyone know which State out of these 17 is the most liberal for Medical Marijuana? I don’t understand the difference between ‘Limited Legalization’, ‘Legalization’ and ‘Decrmininalized’ Thank you! ^_^

      [Paul Armentano responds: NORML provides a breakdown of state by state medical cannabis laws here: http://norml.org/legal/medical-marijuana-2.

    3. […] Assy. Overwhelmingly Backs Marijuana Decriminalizat Simply too much momentum at this point. Breaking: Rhode Island General Assembly Overwhelmingly Backs Marijuana Decriminalization Measures | … By a vote of more than 2 to 1, members of the Rhode Island General Assembly today approved […]

    4. chrisvv says:

      you can’t win a war on drugs… only a war on the people who use them.

      End the War on People.

    5. ? it ? I support the tree of life and it’s cancer cure amongst hundreds of other ailments. http://wp.me/poKjl-uN ? it I am here-by… exposing… the secret (only specific skilled individuals can catch this) to creating the domino effect we all need for this plant to be set free along with the minds of all humanity.

      We still need a DOX of the individuals behind these massacre departments of NIDA & FDA. Lets get ’em!! #PUFMM #OpCannabis

    6. […] legislation 50-to-24 Tuesday; the Senate passed the bill 28-to-6. It’s already a headline at NORML. Members of the House and Senate passed twin bills, House Bill 7092 and Senate Bill 2253, which […]

    7. chrisvv says:

      We attempt to eradicate Cannabis in afghanistan, yet leave the opium…

      Our troops are dying to burn Cannabis in the fields over seas. This is insane. Someone help the human race!!

    8. Matt Austin says:

      There are drugs that are dangerous and need to be illegal Marijauna is absolutely not one of them!!! Free The Herb Heal The World!!!

    9. Felix says:

      Oregons law for cultivating a single plant without a medical card is 20 years…not exactly decriminalized for small amounts in my opinion.

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