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Rhode Island

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director June 15, 2012

    This Week in Weed

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    This week: a study shows no correlation between marijuana dispensaries and crime, new polling data shows growing support for marijuana legalization, New Hampshire sends their medical marijuana measure to the governor, Rhode Island’s Governor signs their decriminalization measure into law, and the New York General Assembly approves medical marijuana legislation.

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  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director June 13, 2012

    Governor Chafee Signs Rhode Island Decriminalization Into Law

    Earlier today, Governor Chafee signed Rhode Island’s decriminalization measure into law. Last week, both the state Senate and General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the bill. The new law reduces the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by an individual 18 years or older 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. It takes effect April 1, 2013.

    Eight states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Oregon — similarly define the private, non-medical possession of marijuana by adults 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 imposes no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    You can read further coverage here.

    New York State Assembly Approves Medical Marijuana Measure

    Only several hours after Governor Chafee put his signature on decriminalization in Rhode Island, the New York state Assembly approved of AB 7347, which would amend state law to allow qualified patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana for therapeutic purposes, by a 90-50 vote. This marks the third time the Assembly has passed such a measure; however, in previous years similar legislation has stalled in the Senate. Action is now awaited on AB 7347’s companion legislation Senate Bill 2774. You can contact your state Senator and urge them to support this legislation by clicking here. You can read the bill text here.

  • 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.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director June 1, 2012

    This Week in Weed

    Click here to subscribe to NORMLtv and receive alerts whenever new content is added.

    The latest installment of “This Week in Weed” is now streaming on NORMLtv.

    This week: A new study shows cannabis use decreases mortality rate in patients with schizophrenia and related ailments and Rhode Island’s Governor signs a bill allowing for “Compassion Centers.”

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    Also, check out this latest NORML PSA, featuring some great rhyming on the problems of prohibition, submitted to us from artist Will Brennan:
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    Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv every week to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 30, 2012

    On Tuesday, separate legislative committees in the Rhode Island House and Senate approved measures to significantly reduce the state’s criminal marijuana possession penalties.

    House Bill 7092 and its companion legislation, Senate Bill 2253, amend state law so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by an individual 18 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 the measures here.

    According to a recent 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 decriminalization laws.

    Rhode Island lawmakers have a long history of supporting medical marijuana law reform legislation. However, yesterday’s vote marks one of the first times in recent memory that lawmakers have taken action to amend the state’s marijuana penalties for non-patients.

    The decriminalization measures now await floor votes in their respective chambers. These votes could come as early as this week. Therefore, if you reside in the Ocean State, it is vital that your elected officials hear from you. You can contact your state elected officials directly via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

    Similar decriminalization legislation is also pending in New Jersey, where the full Assembly is expected to vote on the measure imminently. Further information on this effort is available here.

    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.

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