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Decriminalization

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 8, 2019

    Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has signed legislation into law reducing marijuana possession penalties.

    House Bill 1050 reclassifies the possession of up to one-half ounce (14.175 grams) of cannabis and/or the personal possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia for a first-time offender from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, to a criminal infraction – punishable by a fine but no possibility of jail time. Those charged with subsequent infractions over the course of a calendar year may face the possibility of misdemeanor charges.

    In 2016, North Dakota ranked sixth in the nation in per capita marijuana possession arrests.

    Separate provisions in the measure reduce penalties for the possession of up to 500 grams of cannabis from a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to a class B misdemeanor. Penalties for the possession of greater amounts are amended from a felony to a Class A misdemeanor.

    The new penalties will take effect on August 1, 2019.

    For additional information on pending legislative reforms, visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 30, 2019

    House and Senate lawmakers have finalized and passed legislation, House Bill 1383, decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession offenses and vacating past convictions. The legislation now awaits action from Democratic Gov. David Ige.

    The measure reduces penalties involving the possession of up to three grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and a criminal record, to a non-criminal violation – punishable by a $130 fine.

    It also provides a mechanism for the courts to grant an expungement order for those previously convicted of a marijuana possession offense involving no more than three grams.

    The measure also establishes a task force to review cannabis policy and to make recommendations to the legislature by 2021.

    If signed, the new law takes effect on January 11, 2020.

    To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized (eliminated the possibility of jail time) the adult possession and personal use of marijuana.

    For additional information on pending marijuana legislation, visit NORML’s Take Action Center online here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    House and Senate lawmakers have passed legislation, House Bill 1050, reducing marijuana possession penalties. The measure now awaits action from Republican Gov. Doug Burgum.

    Under the proposal, the possession of up to one-half ounce (14.175 grams) of cannabis or marijuana-related paraphernalia for a first-time offender is reclassified from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, to a criminal infraction – punishable by a fine but no possibility of jail time. Those charged with subsequent infractions over the course of a calendar year may face the possibility of misdemeanor charges.

    In 2016, North Dakota ranked sixth in the nation in per capita marijuana possession arrests.

    Separate provisions in the measure reduce penalties for the possession of up to 500 grams of cannabis from a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to a class B misdemeanor. Penalties for the possession of greater amounts are amended from a felony to a Class A misdemeanor.

    If signed into law, the new penalties will take effect on August 1, 2019.

    For more information about pending legislation, visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 22, 2019

    Cannabis Penalties[Update: The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office announced on Friday, 4/26, that the announced cite-and-release program is on hold. No further details were provided.] A spokesperson for the Jefferson County (population: 658,000) Sheriff’s Office announced today that local law enforcement will begin citing, rather than arresting, low-level marijuana offenders.

    Under the new policy, police will issue a summons to those who possess personal amounts of marijuana or cannabis-related paraphernalia. Offenders will no longer be arrested or booked. Those cited and released will still have to either pay a fine or appear in court at a later date. Those with prior cannabis violations will still be eligible to receive a summons.

    Under state law, marijuana possession is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $6,000 fine.

    Similar cite and release programs are in place in other cities and counties around the country, including in Palm Beach County, Florida and in Harris County (Houston), Texas.

    Additional information is available from NORML’s ‘Local Decriminalization’ report, online here.

  • by NORML April 4, 2019

    Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed legislation into law decriminalizing the possession of personal use amounts of cannabis.

    Senate Bill 323, which takes effect on July 1, 2019, reduces first-time penalties for the possession of up to one-half ounce of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor — punishable by up to 15 days in jail — to a ‘penalty assessment,’ punishable by a $50 fine. Subsequent offenses, or in situations where the defendant possesses greater amounts of marijuana, will remain punishable by the possibility of jail time.

    Police in New Mexico made over 3,600 marijuana possession arrests in 2016.

    Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized the adult possession and use of marijuana.

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