Is Marijuana Decriminalization Coming To Rhode Island?
By Anthony Johnson
Decriminalizing cannabis can save law enforcement resources and hard-earned tax dollars as it is getting ever more expensive filling up jail cells. Not to mention the fact that while law enforcement officers are taking time arresting, booking and jailing people fo marijuana, they aren’t able to help combat violent and serious crimes from occurring. Researchers at UCLA found that Proposition 36 saved California tax payers $173 million in the first year after voters approved the measure that sends non-violent drug offenders to treatment instead of prison. It isn’t surprising that during such tough economic times, some states are finally rolling back draconian marijuana laws that only waste limited resources. Rhode Island is considering whether to ease minor cannabis possession penalties to a civil infraction, instead of misdemeanors that are cause for arrest and possible jail time.
From the Boston Globe online:
PROVIDENCE, R.I.–Legislation that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Rhode Island could be heading to a vote soon in the state’s General Assembly.
Two legislative committees voted Tuesday to advance the legislation to the floors of the House of Representatives and Senate. Lawmakers in those chambers could vote on the measure as early as this week.
The proposal would replace criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a $150 civil fine. Minors caught with pot would also have to complete a drug awareness program and community service.
Of course, ending cannabis prohibition altogether would provide more economic benefits, than decriminalization, passing decrim legislation is certainly a positive step in the right direction and, if a decrim measure passes, the Rhode Island Legislature should be commended.
Source: National Cannabis Coalition