marijuana decriminalization

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Pot Arrests in US Outnumber Violent Crime Arrests

There's a drug arrest every 25 seconds

(Newser) - Law enforcement agencies made more arrests for marijuana possession last year than for all violent crimes combined, despite decriminalization and outright legalization in some states, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch and the ACLU. The report is harshly critical of drug policies that have 137,000 Americans... More »

Nashville Pot Smokers May Now Catch a Break From Cops

Decriminalization move, at police discretion, may cause clash with state government

(Newser) - Nashville's city council has decided that it's time to go a little easier on citizens who would rather smoke a joint than have a shot of Tennessee whiskey. The council voted 35-3 this week to give cops the option of decriminalizing marijuana by handing out $50 fines or... More »

A Little Pot Now Not Such a Big Crime in Jamaica

Possession of 2 oz. or less, cultivation of 5 or fewer plants is now 'petty offense'

(Newser) - Alaska yesterday became the third state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and now a country where you would have thought that was the case already is moving closer to that goal itself. Jamaica's parliament last night approved a law decriminalizing small amounts of pot, the AP reports. People... More »

50% of States Have Now Loosened Their Pot Laws

Maryland will jump on the bandwagon with Gov. Martin O'Malley's signature

(Newser) - According to Pew research, at least 24 states have decriminalized marijuana, legalized it, or OKed its medical use (by this map , it looks like 26); Maryland looks poised to be the 18th in the decriminalization category, per the Baltimore Sun's count. With its approval by the state Senate yesterday,... More »

DC's New Punishment for Pot Possession: $25 Fine

Mayor says he'll sign measure; advocates don't expect lawmakers to intervene

(Newser) - Unless federal officials intervene—a move advocates describe as unlikely—Washington, DC, will soon partially decriminalize marijuana. The city council voted 10-1 yesterday to nix jail time for possession of up to an ounce and smoking at home, instead imposing fines of just $25 for those offenses. That's a... More »

New York Looks to Lighten Up Pot Laws

Cuomo will OK limited medical marijuana; 21st state to allow it

(Newser) - Not to be outdone by the kids out in Colorado , New York state is getting around to revisiting its draconian marijuana laws. As the New York Times reports, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to take executive action this week that would legalize medical marijuana. It being New York, the move... More »

Vermont the 17th State to Loosen Pot Laws

Possession of up to an ounce about to be decriminalized

(Newser) - The Green Mountain State just got a little greener: Vermont's legislature has voted to make the state the 17th to loosen its marijuana laws, the Times Argus reports. A bill decriminalizing the possession of under an ounce of pot has passed both chambers and is now headed to the... More »

Rand Paul: Pot Is Bad, but Jail Terms 'Ruin Lives'

Says drug use of Obama, Bush would have ruined them

(Newser) - Rand Paul is no fan of marijuana, but today he blasted American laws that stick nonviolent criminals such as potheads in jail for "37, 50, 45 years," calling them "a huge mistake" that have the effect of ruining lives over the harmless indiscretions of youth. Case in... More »

White House Considers Legal Fight Over Pot

It might sue Colorado and Washington over legalization: NYT

(Newser) - Top Justice Department and White House officials are meeting to figure out how to respond to marijuana initiatives that decriminalized possession in Washington and Colorado states, reports the New York Times . Options for the feds include bringing cases against low-level users, filing lawsuits against states to prevent them from setting... More »

It's Official: Pot Now Legal in Washington

But big questions remain about distribution, federal laws

(Newser) - As of 12:01 this morning, it's 4:20 all the time in Washington state. Kind of. Initiative I-502 has gone into effect , decriminalizing possession of marijuana, but many questions remain about how the new law will take effect, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer . “We’re in uncharted water... More »

Barney Frank: Pot Brownie 'Made Me Sleepy'

Frank calls decriminalizing marijuana a 'personal freedom' issue

(Newser) - While speaking out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana on CNN yesterday, Rep. Barney Frank admitting to having tried pot, although not smoking it. "I did have a brownie once," said Frank. "It made me sleepy." For most of the interview, Frank framed it as a "... More »

Chicago Cops Won't Arrest You Over a Little Weed

But you'll get still get a ticket under new marijuana policy

(Newser) - Expect to smell some celebratory puffs in Chicago. The city council voted today to approve a policy allowing police to ticket, rather than arrest, anyone found with 15 grams of marijuana or less, NBC Chicago reports. The policy, which is backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel among others, passed by a... More »

Bloomberg Cool With Easing Off on Pot Busts

Surprise backing gives Cuomo proposal a boost

(Newser) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg made waves yesterday by lending his support to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The news comes as a bit of a surprise, considering New York City pot busts have soared under the mayor, with some 50,... More »

13 Stories