Gov. Chafee Signs Bill Making Rhode Island the 15th State to Remove Criminal Penalties for Small Amounts of Marijuana
Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island on Wednesday signed legislation that will reduce the penalty for possession of marijuana to a $150 civil fine for most offenses.
Last week, the Rhode Island General Assembly voted in support of the two identical bills that will make possession of up to an ounce of marijuana a civil infraction, similar to a parking ticket, and will remove the criminal penalties that currently exist. Minors found with marijuana, in addition to the civil fine, will be sentenced to drug education courses and community service.
Marijuana possession is now punishable in Rhode Island by up to a $500 fine and up to a year in jail. The new law will go into effect on April 1, 2013.