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decriminalization

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 26, 2019

    home cultivationDemocratic Gov. David Ige publicly stated this week that he does not intend to veto pending legislation to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession offenses. The Governor has until July 9th to take action on the measure, or it will become law absent his signature.

    House Bill 1383 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 procedures for the courts to grant an expungement order for those previously convicted of a marijuana possession offense involving no more than three grams.

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

    The new law will go into effect on January 11, 2020.

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

    By contrast, Gov. Ige did announce his intent to veto legislation allowing medical cannabis patients to transport their medicine between islands, stating that such activities are in direct violation of federal law. He also announced that he will veto separate legislation seeking to establish commercial regulations for hemp farming.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 24, 2019

    home cultivationBeginning on Monday, July 1, the personal possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Mexico will no longer be classified as a criminal offense.

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

    The new law 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, however, remain punishable by the possibility of jail time.

    “This is a win for consumers and activists continuing to fight and reform the state’s marijuana laws,” says NORML State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf. “The criminalization of patients and consumers is a failed public policy, and there is finally a more sensible alternative in place. New Mexicans, a disproportionate number of whom are black and brown, have faced arbitrary discrimination and stigmatization for far too long.”

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

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

    Legislation in Hawaii to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession offenses is awaiting action from the Governor, while Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign legalization legislation into law this week.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 14, 2019

    Marijuana HempMembers of the Cincinnati City Council have voted in favor of a municipal measure eliminating criminal and civil penalties for marijuana possession. The new local law takes effect on July 12.

    Under the ordinance, activities involving the possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana will no longer be subject to local penalties. Cincinnati is one of a growing number of Ohio municipalities, including Athens and Toledo, to eliminate marijuana possession penalties.

    The Council is also expected to vote imminently on a separate ordinance facilitating the expungement of prior marijuana possession convictions.

    Under state law, the possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis is classified as a minor misdemeanor offense.

    Additional information is available in the NORML report, Local Decriminalization, online here.

  • 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.

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