Rhode Island Eliminates Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences

Rhode Island Eliminates Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences

I have to say, I love my home state of Rhode Island. We are showing the world how to create sensible policies surrounding medical marijuana and are reforming devastating mandatory minimum sentencing for drug possession – all through the legislature. All this despite a governor that has an itchy veto finger when anything calling for common sense drug policy hits his desk.

Set to take effect next month, RI will now allow judges to use discretion when deciding the appropriate sentence for a drug possession offender.

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PROVIDENCE—A new law eliminating mandatory minimum drug sentences in Rhode Island has taken effect without the governor’s signature.

Similar measures had been vetoed in past years by Gov. Don Carcieri. But supporters say they compromised on this year’s legislation by removing a provision that placed a cap on the maximum sentence a judge could give for drug possession crimes.

The new law, which took effect this month, leaves the sentence to the judge’s discretion.

Under the old law, anyone caught manufacturing, possessing or dealing up to one kilogram of heroin or cocaine, or up to five kilograms of marijuana, could face a minimum 10-year sentence.

I think it’s no coincidence that the RI state motto is HOPE.