RI considers marijuana decriminalization

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June 13, 2012, 9:34 am
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(NECN/AP) - Once consigned to the political fringe, marijuana policy is appearing on legislative agendas around the country thanks to an energized base of supporters and an increasingly open-minded public. 

Lawmakers from Rhode Island to Colorado are mulling medical marijuana programs, pot dispensaries, decriminalization and even legalization. 

Andy Gaus, Director of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, and Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson joined "The Morning Show" to discuss either side of the hot-button issue.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia now authorize medical marijuana and 14, including neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts, have rolled back criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of pot. Rhode Island is poised to become the 15th state to decriminalize marijuana possession. 

The state's General Assembly passed legislation last week that would eliminate the threat of big fines or even jail time for the possession of an ounce (28 grams) or less of pot. 

Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) has said he is inclined to sign the legislation.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Tags: marijuana, politics, Thomas Hodgson, medical marijuana, the morning show, marijuana decriminalization, RI lawmakers, Andy Gaus
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