PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island is joining the list of states that are decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, after Governor Chafee signed the measure into law Wednesday.
The law, which takes effect April 1, 2013, says possessing an ounce or less will become a civil violation with a $150 fine, akin to a ticket. It also states that three such violations within 18 months would be a misdemeanor with larger fines and/or prison.
Half of collected fines are to be spent on drug-awareness and -treatment programs for youths.
Offenders under age 18 will have parents notified, have to complete a court-approved or juvenile hearing board-approved drug-awareness program, and do community service.
Failure to do those within a year would increase the fine to $300.