Society’s attitude regarding cannabis is shifting. Law enforcement agencies and lawmakers across the country are also shifting their positions on our beloved plant. Even Texas is working on a few decriminalization and legalization efforts. Veterans are fighting for their right to a safer medication for PTSD, pain and other chronic health conditions. Several cities and states have enacted decriminalization laws, and we’ll list some of them here.
Explanation of Decriminalization
If marijuana possession/use is decriminalized in your city or state, that does not mean it’s legal. It’s still illegal. It simply means that you just won’t be arrested as long as you have less than what the city/state permits. What you’ll get is a citation, kind of like a traffic ticket and a fine. Most fines are around $100 for first offenses. Some locations have decriminalized possession of paraphernalia too.
You must be aware that multiple offenses, even under decriminalization, can end up resulting in an actual criminal charge.
Decriminalized Possession of an Ounce or Less
In some cities and states across the U.S., local law enforcement agencies won’t arrest you if you have an ounce or less of marijuana on you. Now, the gray area here is, if it looks like it’s packaged for sale – in small quantities in separate baggies/packages – the decriminalization rule can go right out the window and out come the hand-cuffs.
Where you can possess an ounce or less without arrest:
- Rhode Island
- Certain cities in Florida
- Certain cities in Wisconsin
Decriminalized Possession of Other Weights
This is where decriminalization gets a little confusing. There isn’t a standard amount of marijuana that is decriminalized everywhere. Some cities and states have chosen to limit excusable amounts of marijuana to specific gram counts.
Specific gram restrictions:
- In Pennsylvania, you won’t be arrested if you’ve got 30 grams or less of marijuana. Having paraphernalia is also decriminalized.
- Minnesota decriminalized possession to 1.5 ounces without arrest.
- Maryland decriminalized possession 10 grams before arrest.
- Illinois decriminalized possession of 10 grams or less, and paraphernalia.
- New Orleans – there’s no specific amount, local law enforcement just has to determine that your small amount is only for personal use.
- Mississippi follows the same rules as New Orleans. They only give you one free pass though, a second or repeated offense could land you in jail.
It’s important to know where you won’t get busted after visiting your local street dealer if marijuana is illegal where you live. Just make sure you know the rules so you don’t end up wearing those cold silver bracelets and sitting in a booking cell. Your demeanor also plays a role in whether you’ll be arrested or not, so always be honest instead of defensive if you do have some marijuana on you.