PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island last week became the latest state to roll back criminal penalties for minor marijuana possession, replacing the threat of jail time for those caught with pot with something akin to a traffic citation, The Associated Press reported.
It will remain a criminal offense to drive while under the influence of marijuana. However, adults caught with an ounce or less of marijuana now face a $150 civil fine and a hearing at the state’s traffic court. Minors will also be required to complete community service and a drug-awareness class. The incident will not appear on an individual’s criminal record. Anyone cited three times within 18 months will face misdemeanor charges, the AP said.
Fourteen states have now decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The law was passed last year but its enactment was delayed until April 1 to give police time to prepare, the AP said. •