Rhode Island's 2012 legislative session has kicked off with legislators hard at work. Senator Joshua Miller (D-Cranston) and Rep. John G.Edwards (D-Portsmouth, Tiverton) plan to introduce legislation that would decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana.
The bill is similar to the proposal before the RI General Assembly last session. The current misdemeanor penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana — up to a year in jail and a $200 to $500 criminal fine — would be replaced with a civil fine of $150.
The passing of this bill would allow Rhode Island's cash-strapped police departments to spend their resources on crimes of violence, as opposed to wasting OUR tax dollars on arrest and prosecution over a small amount of marijuana for personal use.
In the state's current economic situation this legislation would save the state millions in law enforcement costs as well as generate revenue with the collection of civil fines.
I call on our East Greenwich legislators to step forward and co-sponsor this important legislation!