Rhode Island: Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect

Rhode Island: Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes EffectProvidence, RI: Legislation signed into law last year decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses to a fine-only penalty took effect on Monday. Rhode Island is the fifteenth state to eliminate jail time in cases involving the personal possession of cannabis.

Under the new law, the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by an individual 18 years or older is a non-arrestable civil offense, punishable by a maximum fine of $150 but no jail time, and no criminal record. Previously, marijuana possession offenses were classified as criminal misdemeanors punishable by one year in jail and a $500 maximum fine.

There have been 9 decriminalization proposals introduced this year at the state level, including Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Vermont.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director or Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel at (202) 483-5500.