decriminalization

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- Virginia is moving toward decriminalizing simple possession of marijuana.

The state House on Monday passed a decriminalization bill with bipartisan support. The state Senate is expected to pass its own version shortly.

Gov. Ralph Northam has signaled his support for the measure. If passed, the legislation would scrap criminal charges for possessing marijuana and replace them with small fines.

Supporters have argued the measure is needed in part because African Americans are disproportionately charged with drug crimes.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware senators are set to vote on a bill expanding the decriminalization of simple possession of marijuana to juveniles.

Possessing an ounce or less of marijuana is currently a civil violation for anyone over 21 but a criminal misdemeanor for those under 18.

Nineteen and 20-year-olds currently are subject to a civil violation for a first offense but misdemeanor charges for a second or subsequent offense.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Baltimore's top prosecutor has filed a rarely used legal petition intended to vacate 3,778 convictions for possession of marijuana.

In an unusual "Maryland v Maryland" filing in state court, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby says the legal effort is necessary to "right an extraordinary wrong." The petition, if granted, would acknowledge an error of fact in the cases and wipe out the pot possession convictions.

Mosby says in the Tuesday filing that the "sordid history of marijuana prohibition lies in ethnic and racial bigotry."

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For those who were convicted of violating Delaware’s old marijuana laws there could be some relief.

Legislation has been introduced that would erase the records of those who were convicted of using or possessing less than an ounce.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the law would be wipe out those convictions before December 18th 2015 when the new law took effect.

Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle said it was a matter of equity.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia lawmaker says he's working on a bill to decriminalize marijuana.
 
The Virginian-Pilot reported Monday that Senate majority leader Tommy Norment does not support full legalization of the drug. But the Republican said possessing it would be a civil offense subject to a ticket or a fine.
 
Norment's comments followed the release of a State Crime Commission study that said decriminalizing marijuana would prevent more than 10,000 arrests every year in Virginia.
 

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia State Crime Commission plans to study whether marijuana should be decriminalized in the Old Dominion.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the commission's executive committee agreed Wednesday to study the issue this year.

Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment requested the study last year.

Legislation to decriminalize marijuana have failed in past legislative sessions.

Candidates running for governor this year in both parties have called for decriminalizing the drug.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Although possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in Maryland, the state's highest court has ruled that police can still search a car without a warrant if they smell pot.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Court of Appeals issued the unanimous opinion on Friday. Judge Shirley Watts wrote that "decriminalization is not synonymous with legalization, and possession of marijuana remains unlawful."

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware has officially decriminalized possession by adults of small amounts of marijuana.

Just past the stroke of midnight on Friday, a decriminalization law signed in June by Gov. Jack Markell took effect.

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DENVER (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley is promising immediate change on marijuana policy if he takes office - even as he met with pot workers in Colorado who could be out of business if O'Malley carries out his plans.

The former Maryland governor met with Colorado officials and marijuana activists and business owners in Denver Thursday. He repeated his pledge to reclassify marijuana under federal drug laws if elected.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has signed legislation decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Markell signed the bill Thursday shortly after it passed the Democrat-controlled Senate on a straight party line vote.

The measure also received no Republican support when it passed the Democrat-led House earlier this month. Republicans say it sends the wrong message to young people, even though it keeps simple possession a criminal offense for anyone under 18.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Delaware is facing its final legislative hurdle.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill on Thursday. It cleared the Democratic-controlled House earlier this month on a party-line vote.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has indicated that he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

The bill would eliminate criminal penalties for possession of one ounce of marijuana or less for personal use. Instead, it would be a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House of Representatives is poised to vote on a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The legislation to be voted on Tuesday makes possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine of $100, rather than a criminal offense.

Smoking marijuana in an area accessible to the public or in a moving vehicle would be a criminal misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200 and imprisonment of up to five days.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana has cleared a Delaware legislative panel and is headed to the House floor for a vote.

House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee members voted 5-to-4 Wednesday to release the bill after its chief sponsor said she would make several revisions to address concerns of police officials.

Law enforcement groups, including the Delaware State Police, nevertheless remain opposed to the bill.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - It would no longer be a crime to possess marijuana-related paraphernalia in Maryland, under a bill approved by the Maryland General Assembly.

The House of Delegates voted 84-52 on Saturday for the Senate bill, sending it to Gov. Larry Hogan.

Maryland decriminalized possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana last year. That made it a civil offense rather than a criminal one.

However, lawmakers didn't do the same thing for paraphernalia like pipes, so the bill was introduced this session.

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Supporters of decriminalizing marijuana rallied this weekend in Wilmington urging the Delaware General Assembly to act.

There were around 40 people who marched along Market Street with curious onlookers – some honking their horns others shouting support from apartment above the street.

Governor Jack Markell says he is willing to look at decriminalization.

But the Delaware Democrat strongly opposed legalization of the weed that has taken place in Colorado and other states.

He said not enough was known about its impact.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession in Virginia has been quickly snuffed out.

The Republican-controlled state Senate Courts of Justice Committee rejected Sen. Adam Ebbin's decriminalization bill Wednesday on a party-line 9-5 vote.

The measure would have eliminated jail time for possession of marijuana, instead making it punishable by a maximum $100 civil penalty.

Ebbin, an Alexandria Democrat, argued that criminalization of marijuana has failed to reduce use of the drug and has made criminals out of nonviolent citizens.

MD Pot Decriminalization in Effect Today

Oct 1, 2014
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Starting today possession of up to ten grams of marijuana will now be subject to a civil citation of a $100 in Maryland.  

The second offense goes up to $250 and the third to $500.

Instead of being arrested police will issue a citation although Wicomico County States Attorney Matt Maciarello says age would be important in how the court handles the citation.

WMDT reports that when the case goes to court police will reportedly be able to use their knowledge and training to prove there is less than 10 grams.

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Congressman Andy Harris’s office got a lot of complaints yesterday but not from the usual constituents.

These were DC residents who were angry with the Eastern Shore Republican for trying to block the decriminalization of marijuana that went into effect in the District last week.

Barbara Helmick who is a member of DC vote that organized the faux constituent service day stood outside Harris’s office in Washington yesterday.

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A measure to block the decriminalization of marijuana in Washington D.C. by Congressman Andy Harris has made it through the House of Representatives as part of legislation approved yesterday on Capitol Hill.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that House Democrats who oppose the measure made no attempt to block it since that effort would fail in the Republican led House.

The Eastern Shore Republican’s proposal was part of the spending bill for the District and some federal agencies.

That legislation was approved by a vote of 228-to-195.

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WASHINGTON (AP)- The mayor of the District of Columbia is urging residents to boycott the Eastern Shore of Maryland this holiday, because of its congressional representative's position on decriminalizing marijuana.

Mayor Vincent Gray said at a Wednesday news conference that the city's residents shouldn't support someone who doesn't support them.

The mayor is referring to Rep. Andy Harris, who represents Maryland's Eastern Shore. Harris successfully attached an amendment to a House budget bill that would overturn the city's marijuana decriminalization law.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A new law that will decriminalize marijuana in October involves some ambiguities that police and prosecutors are just beginning to confront.

Under the law, possession of rolling papers, pipes and other marijuana accessories will remain a criminal offense, meaning a person could still be arrested for it.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's legislature has given final approval to a bill that would eliminate criminal charges for possessing small amounts of marijuana and the governor says he plants to sign it.

The Senate voted Monday to accept several compromises the House added over the weekend.

The bill would keep marijuana use illegal but make it akin to a traffic violation. The House opted to require all teen offenders to be evaluated for treatment. It also voted to raise the penalties to $20 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense, up from a maximum of $100.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's legislature apparently won't eliminate criminal policies for marijuana possession this year, but it will likely take a step in that direction.

The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to create a task force to study decriminalization policies. The task force would make a recommendation after two years.

This is a reworked version of a Senate bill that would decriminalize the drug right away. In the same situation last year, this committee let the bill die without reaching the House floor.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate is set to vote Friday on whether to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Sen. Robert Zirkin's bill would replace criminal penalties for pot possession with a $100 civil fine. Juveniles caught with the drug would also have to appear before a judge and possibly undergo treatment. Under an amendment from Sen. Christopher Shank, the same penalty would also apply to adults caught a third time.

Criminal penalties would remain intact for anyone carrying more than about one-third of an ounce of pot.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Two bills that would decriminalize marijuana will get their first hearing Tuesday in a Senate committee.

A bill filed by Sen. Robert Zirkin would make it a civil offense to possess less than 10 grams worth of marijuana, punishable by a $100 fine but no longer attached to any criminal charge. The other bill, filed by Sen. Jamie Raskin, would make marijuana possession legal for people 21 or older.

Also this week, CASA de Maryland and the NAACP will have a rally concerning immigrant and civil rights issues.