Rhode Island Lawmakers Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana

Rhode Island may soon decriminalize possession of marijuana under legislation pending in the General Assembly.

The bill would make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine of $150. Current law makes possession of pot a misdemeanor punishable by fines of up to $500 and a year in prison.

The legislation heads to a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday evening. It’s sponsored by Rep. John Edwards, a Tiverton Democrat. Supporters say the move to lesser penalties would save the state millions in court and prison costs.

Twelve states have decriminalized possession of marijuana.

Rhode Island legalized marijuana for medical purposes two years ago.

– Article originally published at The Boston Globe