PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Adults caught with an ounce or less of marijuana would face a $150 fine but no criminal penalties under a pot decriminalization bill up for review in the Rhode Island General Assembly.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
More than a dozen states now make marijuana possession a civil violation rather than a criminal offense. Supporters say softer penalties for pot possession would allow police and prosecutors to target more serious crime.
Under the bill, it remains a crime to smoke pot in schools, jails and certain other places, or to be under the influence of marijuana while driving.
Lawmakers are also considering a proposal to legalize marijuana and subject it to regulations and taxes.
Votes on the proposals haven’t been scheduled.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (3)
  1. Solidad says:

    This bill makes a lot of sense and would make Rhode Island’s treatment of marijuana similar to that of Massachusetts.

    Note that the decriminalization proposal in Massachusetts was met with numerous predictions of decriminalization causing a full blown crime wave. The hysteria was just that, hysteria. Basically the final result has been no increase in crime and a more rational treatment of those caught with small amounts of marijuana.

  2. SamuelCaldwell says:

    It’s great to see states start to take a real step to debunk Reefer Madness. It costs tax-payers around $40,000 to keep someone in jail/prison for a year.

    “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marijuana in private for personal use.” – President Jimmy Carter

  3. Jules says:

    I really hope, Rhode Island decides to make the move in decrimanalizing, less than an oz. of marijuana. The state is known for all of its “political inequties”. Every
    represenative and/ or goverment official is involved in some form of corruption, especially in RI.

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