News Update: Governor Signs RI Decrim Bill and NY General Assembly Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

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.

26 thoughts

  1. Excellent news! It seems like the past year has held a lot of bad news for cannabis law reform, but the past few weeks alone have been non-stop good news! Maybe New York will be the 18th state to allow medical marijuana!

    We’re finally making progress.

  2. They’d better vote it through this time. NYC cops have created a problem with their stop & frisks, then asking the victims of cannabis prohibition to empty their pockets, and then arrested for cannabis in plain sight. Solve that problem at the same time. There’ll be a protest against stop and frisk on Father’s Day in the Big Apple. I mean this stop and frisk shit is what is getting blacks and latinos heavily involved in the criminal justice system, and totally unnecessarily. Well, not for cannabis, not any more!

    After passage, what remains to be seen is if they implement it, as the feds have scared too many states into putting the brakes on implementation.

    States need a new revenue source, because none of the currently legal ones want to pay any more in taxes, and don’t want any new taxes on already legal products. Wall Street should be pleased to no end that the tax man’s sights are set on cannabis instead of on brokers and business and the investor class.

    The feds simply do not have the means to go after the eastern seaboard if NY falls if in effect all the states coordinate their implementation simultaneously. Slash the feds’ budgets so they run out of money to prosecute and litigate, and make sure whatever they’re taking in from seized cash and assets is not enough, and the enforcement of cannabis prohibition is unsustainable. It’s an utterly useless position and an utter waste of scare public money.

    We’ll find out if New Yorkers are all big talk and full of shit on legalizing MMJ and decriminalization and ridding us of this stop and frisk problem. If NYC wants to have cannabis who the hell is going to pay for locking up everybody. You can have short term gains from seizures or you can have calculated long term income revenue streams while restoring some order.

    Ordo ab chaos

    There is too much death and suffering under cannabis prohibition.

  3. Hooray! It’s a big step in the right direction. Now, if only the foolish representatives elsewhere in America would take similar action. Being in Virginia, I see mostly stupidity here… Big tobacco country after all…

  4. I’m thinking of starting a prohibitionist’s recovery program for all the depressed and bewildered law enforcement and religious folks who won’t be able to persecute and prosecute cannabis users anymore. It will be a growth industry in the coming years. Ironically, one of the key elements of the therapy will be sharing a joint in group sessions.

  5. Well done NORML and all the others who worked hard to make this happen. As others have said – so much is happening that it will be hard for the prohibitionists to crack down this time. It can’t be long now until most (if not all states) have decriminalized marijuana. Then it may eventually cross the sea to the UK where I live (hope I’m not too old to enjoy it !)

  6. This is great news. In Texas they still believe this drug will lead to all other drug’s And that they are winning the war on drugs according to the (D-E-A).

  7. Encouraging news! Keep up the good work everybody. The battle is far from over, but we will win this thing someday.

  8. Forgot Ohio in the decrim list. Anything under 3 oz is a fine only, and cultivation is listed under possession. A pipe, however, will get you put in for 30 days and fined.

  9. Down with these racist drug laws. Pot legal would increase our happiness, our money, our safety, and freedoms in this -free- country. And I also like the occupy movement… I think we should maybe have anti-greed laws. But, if Cannabis became legal again… that would be good enough. 🙂

  10. A highly respectable move by the governor of Rhode Island, Governor Chafee.

  11. I’ve been on a grassy binge lately
    What’s that giant sucking sound?
    No not my bong
    Its the rebirth of legalization gaining MoJo
    A very powerful phenomenon.

  12. Maybe Pennsylvania’s law makers will hear of this, but were going to have to yell really loud because thier heads are so far up thier asses, its shoulders to butt cheeks.

  13. Progress it may be, but seriously, there is no point to adding stipulations like “up to an ounce.”

    Prohibition is full of pointless, arbitrary conditions, we all know this. An “ounce” is supposedly a world of difference from “1.00001 ounces” and how that determines the corresponding penalties (tax revenue funded prison sentences, harassment and violence put upon the citizenry who pays for useless fed agencies that terrorize them). “An ounce.” It’s a fallacy. It’s arbitrary, i.e, it’s MADE UP nonsense, ffs.

    Their claim is that more than one ounce automatically means that distribution or sales is taking place, without examination of individual cases. It’s just more unjust and arbitrary paternalism fabricated to serve special interests and self-enriching elected officials. The same old violations of Constitutional and human rights continuing over forty years of failed drug war and waste, fabricated by Nixon and Mitchell and their scheduling scheme, not the voting population, not even a vote by the Congress.

    We are talking about medicine used for over 10,000 years and described primarily as medicine by all accounts, throughout human history. The idea that “more than an ounce” would mean a significantly worse punishment than “an ounce or less” is a big steaming pile of poo rhetoric, predictably following the same old irrational and draconian policy, founded. on. lies.

  14. I live in rhode island, never thought I would see the day!!!

    We are on the right track, finally.

  15. Great news, What about Maryland? Maryland is so nonprogressive.`I received a letter from Senator Barbara Mikulski finally she addmitted that she is against legalizing canabis. I think it is time for Mikulski to retire. Come next election I am voting against her.

  16. I pray for the day where I can legally get medicinal marijuana!!! I Praise GOD for that day everywhere!!It is a human right to be able to live a somewhat normal life without pain an being sick all the time!! Marijuana helps me to live without being sick as much an no side effects, except to feel better, which medicinal marijuana does!! I have been living in hospitals all my life due to health issues!! I Pray for the day for medical marijuana becomes legal as it should have been along time ago!! Please Pass This Bill!!! PLEASE………… GOD BLESS EVERYONE INVOLED IN THIS URGENT DECISIONS!! PEOPLES LIVES ARE DEPENDING ON THIS DECISION TO MAKE IT LEGAL!!

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