BOSTON (Reuters) – A law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana went into effect in Rhode Island on Monday after the state last year became the 15th in the United States to enact such legislation.
Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the legislation into law in June but it did not take effect until Monday, a move intended to allow time for officials to work out procedures, said state Representative John Edwards, a co-sponsor of the measure.
Possession of one ounce (28 grams) or less of marijuana in Rhode Island now constitutes a civil offense punishable by a $150 fine and forfeiture of the drug, though three offenses in an 18-month period amount to a misdemeanor.
Previously, possession of even small amounts of marijuana in the smallest U.S. state was considered a misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $500.
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