As reported by Katherine Gregg in the March 17, 2010 Providence Journal, "a state Senate commission has recommended the decriminalization of an ounce or less of marijuana."
It is anticipated that Rhode Island may follow the Massachusetts marijuana law where adults found in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana are required to pay a $100.00 civil fine. Currently, anyone found in possession of marijuana in Rhode Island is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punished by a fine of $200.00 to $500.00 and up to a year in jail.
The Rhode Island Department of Attorney General and many police departments have opposed the decriminalization of marijuana. The Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association has referred to marijuana as a "dangerous drug". Last year there were 2,546 arrests for first offense possession of marijuana. Although the decriminalization of marijuana is being hotly debated in Rhode Island, it is important to remember that possession of marijuana is still a crime in Rhode Island.