In a story by the Associated Press and published on the Huffington Post, a growing number of state lawmakers and state governors are jumping on the decriminalization bandwagon when it comes to marijuana.
Most recently, as David Klepper reports, yet another state has made the move to ease up on the penalty for marijuana possession, while Maryland stays pretty much where it has been.
The state (Rhode Island) has passed a bill that makes possession of an ounce or less worthy of just a $150 civil fine. Moreover, the infraction wouldn’t go on a criminal record. The bill, before it becomes law, simply awaits the state governor’s signature, which is likely to happen soon.
In Maryland, lawmakers have begun to make some moves toward relaxing marijuana policy, though nothing that comes close to decriminalization or legalization.
As far as medical marijuana is concerned, a person charged with possession can try to assert the existence of a “debilitating medical condition” as part of his or her defense, but this defense is only available in certain circumstances.
And as far as non-medical marijuana is concerned (i.e. recreational use), any amount of possession can result in jail time and relatively heavy criminal fines (and a criminal record), which is a far cry from Rhode Island’s recent legislative effort.