|An 18-year-old student is arrested for marijuana. Scenes like this could become a part of the past in Rhode Island.|
A bill to decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana was introduced in the Rhode Island House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Under the legislation, up to an ounce of pot would be subject only to a $150 civil penalty under state law.
H 7317, a bipartisan bill, is co-sponsored by 35 House members and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. The Rhode Island State Senate is likely to introduce their version of the bill later this week.
If the bill becomes law, Rhode Island would join their neighboring state, Massachusetts, and become the 14th state to decriminalize marijuana. In 2008, Massachusetts voters passed a similar decrim law overwhelmingly, with 65 percent of the vote.
|Karen O’Keefe, MPP: “We look forward to the day when the citizens of this state no longer have to fear being handcuffed and thrown in jail for using a substance far safer than alcohol”|
”Rhode Island lawmakers should be applauded for their support of this bill that will save the state much needed money and resources by not arresting, prosecuting, sentencing and incarcerating marijuana users,” said Karen O’Keefe, Marijuana Policy Project‘s director of state policies.
“We look forward to the day when the citizens of this state no longer have to fear being handcuffed and thrown in jail for using a substance for safer than alcohol.”
The entire text of the bill can be read at: