A state law decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana takes effect today. But support for the new law is mixed.
The new law doesn’t make possessing marijuana completely legal. But it does replace the criminal penalty you might have gotten for being caught with an ounce of pot with a $150 dollar civil fine. Proponents of the new law include the advocacy group Protect Families First, which says prohibiting marijuana across the board hasn’t worked to keep kids off drugs. That group and the legislation’s sponsors in the General Assembly say Rhode Island should go further and regulate marijuana like alcohol. So far, two states – Colorado and Washington – have done that. Opponents of the new law include former congressman Patrick Kennedy, whose organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana has been spearheading a campaign to combat legalizing the drug.