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Arizona: Lawmaker Introduces Measure To 'Defelonize' Marijuana Possession

Thursday, 03 February 2011

Phoenix, AZ: First-year member of the state House of Representatives, Republican John Fillmore (Apache Junction) introduced legislation this week to 'defelonize' Arizona's marijuana possession penalties.

House Bill 2228 amends state law so that the adult possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is reduced from a potential felony (punishable by 1.5 years in prison and a $150,000 fine) to a "petty offense" punishable by a $100 fine.

Lawmakers in several other states – including Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Texas – are considering similar legislation to reduce statewide marijuana possession penalties to fine-only offenses.

Thirteen states have enacted similar laws 'decriminalizing' marijuana possession offenses, removing the threat of jail time (and in some cases, the threat of arrest or a criminal record) for cannabis possession.

In November, Arizona voters narrowly approved Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which allows the state to regulate the use and distribution of medical cannabis to authorized patients. On Tuesday, the Arizona Department of Health released draft rules for the forthcoming medical marijuana program, which is expected to be implemented later this spring.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. A state-by-state summary of pending state marijuana law reform legislation is available from NORML at: http://www.capwiz.com/norml2/issues/.