Rhode Island: Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Monday

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 29, 2013

    Legislation signed into law last year decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses takes effect on Monday, April 1.

    Presently, possessing cannabis in the Ocean State is classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and a $500 maximum fine. Starting Monday, the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by an individual 18 years or older is a non-arrestable civil offense, punishable by a maximum fine of $150 but no jail time, and no criminal record.

    Fifteen states have enacted similar decriminalization laws. Three states — Alaska, Colorado, and Washington — impose no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana. (Colorado had previously decriminalized cannabis possession decades earlier, while Alaska’s legal protections were imposed by the state Supreme Court.)

    Similar decriminalization legislation is pending this year in nearly a dozen additional states, including Hawaii, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Texas, and Vermont.

    Lawmakers in several other states, including Maine, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, are considering separate legislation to legalize the adult consumption of cannabis and regulate its retail production and sale.

    15 Responses to “Rhode Island: Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Monday”

    1. Mamadoc says:

      I can’t figure out how come there is not a humongous movement in the making to simply get rid of all victimless crimes… That includes all crimes in which damage to third parties is not involved. Why not?!

    2. Miles says:

      One problem I see from the consumer side of this issue is price. What I mean is that one can often get a better price per unit buying in bulk. So, if the price is, say, $400/oz, it might be as low as $200/oz if you were to buy a pound; which would not only last longer but would require less trips to the local dealer… Besides that, until there is a legal way to purchase your cannabis, every time you make a purchase you’re, once again, breaking the law.

      This legislation is a step in the right direction but it’s still not really great in my opinion.

    3. Another hook for prosecution? says:

      I saw this article on an email. Perhaps someone at NORML would like to make a blog entry about this development? Sounds like a short hop to adding endangered species violations to the list of crimes law enforcemen agencies can charge drug growers with…


    4. Voice of the Resistance says:

      Ok good! decriminalization is so yesterday. I’ts the stats quo. Politicians like Rand Paul sing the party line and just want to get elected.

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