Arizona Lawmaker: Remove Felony Charge For Simple Marijuana Possession

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In a perfect world, no one would get arrested for marijuana, or even get a fine for that matter. Possessing and consuming marijuana is a harmless act that shouldn't bother anyone, especially law enforcement. Consuming marijuana does not increase violent tendencies in people, and I've never heard of anyone stealing scrap metal to feed their marijuana habit.

prison swiss smoking inmates marijuana

Unfortunately, in the world we live in, marijuana possession can carry hefty penalties, far beyond what is appropriate for the act. For instance, in Arizona possession of up to two pounds of marijuana is a class six felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and a $750 fine. And that's for no intent to distribute! Get caught with a quarter pound of bammer, which is a common thing in Arizona, and you will have your life ripped apart.

At least one lawmaker in Arizona wants to change that.  Arizona Representative Mark A. Cardenas, D-Phoenix, has introduced House Bill 2474 which would treat possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana without intent to distribute as a civil penalty of no more than a $100 fine. Possession of more than one ounce, but less than 2 pounds, of marijuana without intent to distribute would be a petty offense, while possession of greater amounts would be a misdemeanor. There would be no felony penalty for possession only according to the bill.

"I don't believe they should go away to prison and face hefty fines and possibly have their civil rights taken away," said Rep. Mark A. Cardenas, D-Phoenix, according to The Bugle. "We shouldn't have people that are being sentenced to long prison terms for simple possession of marijuana."

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