As reported in Randal Edgar in the May 24, 2011 edition of the Providence Journal, a bill has been introduced to the Rhode Island General Assembly to decriminalize marijuana possession. Small amount of marijuana possession, less than one (1) ounce, would be considered a civil violation and punishable by a fine of $150.00. Other states, including neighboring Massachusetts, have already passed laws decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana possession.
Currently, pursuant to Rhode Island General Law 21-28-4.01, possession of marijuana is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction may be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not less than two hundred dollars ($200) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both.
Larger quantities of marijuana would remain a crime. Possession of one (1) kilogram to five (5) kilograms of marijuana is a crime punishable with imprisonment of up to fifty (50) years and fined not more than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000). Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 21-28-4.01.2, possession of more than five (5) kilograms of marijuana is punishable by imprisonment for a term up to life and fined not more than one million dollars ($1,000,000).