As reported by Katherine Gregg in the May 5, 2010 Providence Journal, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted hearings on a proposed bill to decriminalize marijuana. Under current Rhode Island law, any possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor and penalties including a $200-$500 fine and up to one year in jail. The new proposal would decriminalize marijuana possession of one ounce or less and instead of facing criminal charges, possession would be a civil offense. The sole penalty would be a fine ranging from $150-$1,000 for first time offenders. Repeat offenders could eventually be charged with a misdemeanor. Proponents of decriminalization argue this bill will help reduce the prison population and raise revenue for the State through taxes on the sale of marijuana. Opponents express concern about the impact on "young people of making marijuana a more legally and socially acceptable drug." Although the debate regarding decriminalization of marijuana continues, it is important to remember that possession of marijuana is still a crime in Rhode Island.If you or a family member has been charged with possession of marijuana or any other drug possession charge, contact us for help through the legal process.. Contact Robert H. Humphrey at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.