Last night, Governor Chafee signed Rhode Island’s decriminalization bill into law, officially making the Ocean State the 15th state to pass marijuana decriminalization. With this new legislation, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by any individual 18 years or older will result in a non-arrestable civil offense punishable by a $150 fine. This means no jail time, no criminal records, and no more lives ruined by the stain of a marijuana arrest and conviction on their record. This new legislation takes effect April 1, 2013.
To make things even more interesting, just hours after Chafee signed Rhode Island’s reformed marijuana policy, the New York State assembly voted to pass AB 7347, which would allow qualified patients to use marijuana for medical purposes, in a 90-50 vote. This isn’t the first time medical marijuana has passed in New York, but in the past the bills have gotten held up in the State Senate. So, if you are a New York resident, please contact your State Senator and ask them to support compassion today.