Several marijuana-related bills were up for passage this year at the Legislature. Besides the much publicized bill regarding in-state cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes, there were several other bills that dealt with marijuana or hemp.
Senate Bill 254, sponsored by Senator Harold Jones (D- 22), would decrease the penalty for marijuana possession down to a misdemeanor and limit potential imprisonment time to a period “not to exceed 12 months” or a fine “not to exceed $1,000,000.” Senator Jones laid out his reasoning behind introducing the bill when he pre-filed it in December. “We’re trying to make it so that one mistake doesn’t ruin someone’s life, because you know we don’t necessarily have a victim as such in this case,” said Jones. The law was limited to possession so dealers would not be covered under the bill. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee and stalled out before approval and introduction to the full Senate. HB 1046 was a similar bill and would have meant no arrest for less than one ounce of possession. It was sent to the House Judicial Non-Civil Committee and didn’t get approval either.
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