The Marijuana Policy Project as well as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition's Tom Angell report that the Rhode Island Senate just passed its version of the marijuana deciminalization bill, 28-6.
Earlier this evening, June 5, 2012, the Rhode Island General Assembly overwhelming approved twin bills that would – for most offenses – remove the threat of jail time for the simple possession of marijuana. The companion bills – S2253/H7092 – would replace the current criminal charge for simple possession – up to a year in jail and/or up to a $500 fine – with a $150 civil offense.
Individuals under the age of 18 would be subject to the same civil violation and would also be required to attend a drug education course as well as perform community service. A third marijuana possession offense within 18 months could result in a misdemeanor conviction punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. The twin bills must now each get a vote in the other legislative chamber. Then, they will go to Gov. Lincoln Chafee to sign into law, veto, or allow to become law without his signature.
Angell sent this statement:
The overwhelming vote tonight shows just how mainstream marijuana reform has become. Clearly more and more politicians are realizing that supporting marijuana reform is smart politics -- just the opposite of the third rail it was viewed as just a few short years ago. Andrew Cuomo, who is widely expected to run for president in 2016, gets it. Will Obama get the picture in time?
Source: Rhode Island Senate Joins House In Passing Marijuana Decriminalization Bill, 28-6