Louisiana Close to Legalizing Medical Marijuana, Better Legislation than Texas
Delaware House decriminalizes marijuana possession
WILMINGTON, Del. — Delaware House lawmakers on Tuesday approved legislation that would treat simple marijuana possession and personal use by adults like a traffic violation, replacing criminal penalties with civil fines.
The bill passed the House by a 24-14 vote, and now heads to the Senate. Gov.
Some opponents said decriminalization would embolden drug dealers operating in a black market. Others say it could prevent police from initiating important searches on suspicion of simple marijuana possession.
Under language added by an amendment, Delawareans under the age of 18 would still face criminal penalties for possessing marijuana. Those between the ages of 18 and 21 would face criminal penalties upon their second arrest.
That change to the legislation caused angst among the bill's opponents and its supporters, who questioned why juveniles would be treated differently than adults when caught with pot.
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Illinois Senate passes marijuana decriminalization bill but plans changes
The Illinois legislature joined the movement to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of pot, passing a measure Thursday that would bar arrest for the offense.
Carrying small amounts of marijuana would result in a fine instead of an arrest under a measure approved Thursday by the Illinois Senate.
Low-level cannabis possession would go from a crime with fines up to $2,500 and up to a year in a jail to penalties likened to a traffic ticket: no court time and a fine of up to $125 for those caught with 15 grams or less, which is the equivalent of about 25 cigarette-size joints.
The Senate voted 37-19 to approve the legislation after it cleared the House last month. But it's not going to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk just yet — sponsors say they'll hold onto it until additional cleanup language is approved.
If signed into law, Illinois would join 17 other states in decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to NORML, which advocates the legal use of marijuana. Nearly half the country, including Illinois, already allows for the use of medical marijuana.
Sponsoring Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, said that while he believes using marijuana is wrong, people shouldn't have their lives ruined because of it.
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