Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Republican turned Independent, on Wednesday signed into law a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
The Providence Journal reported that the law makes possessing an ounce or less of marijuana a civil violation with a $150 fine. However, three violations within 18 months would be a misdemeanor with larger fines and possibly prison.
Half of the money collected by the fines will be put towards drug awareness and treatment programs for youths.
Last year, Chafee asked the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug.
Sixteen states, including Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of medical marijuana. However, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug: the most restrictive classification reserved for dangerous drugs with no real medical value.
“Americans’ attitudes toward medically prescribed marijuana are changing, and medical organizations throughout the country – including the Rhode Island Medical Society and the American Medical Association – have come to recognize the potential benefits of marijuana for medical use,” Chafee said at the time.
Like Raw Story on Facebook
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010,
and is based out of San Diego, California. He grew up in the suburbs
of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University.
Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in Cambridge, MA in 2004, Raw Story reaches more than 2 million unique readers per month and serves more than 11.4 million pageviews. Recent focal points have included Occupy Wall Street, Wikileaks, wiretapping and judicial abuse.