Starting Monday, penalties for low level marijuana possession will be decreased in Rhode Island. This makes Rhode Island the fourteenth state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The new law will call for a fine of $150 for marijuana possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. This will replace past regulations that made the same offense punishable by a $500 fine and/or up to a year in prison.
The decriminalization bill was originally introduced in 2011 by Representative John Edwards. It was approved by the House and Senate in 2012 and signed into law by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee in June 2012.
On Monday, the law will officially take effect.
Robert Capecchi, Deputy Director of State Policies for the Marijuana Policy Project told the press, “We applaud the legislature and Governor Chafee for answering Rhode Islanders’ calls for a more sensible marijuana policy. Nobody should be subject to life-altering criminal penalties simply for using a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol.”