Specific to marijuana law enforcement, the measure amends cannabis penalties so that the possession of up to four ounces of pot is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $1,000 fine. For first-time offenders, the new law states, “[T]he court, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of the defendant, may defer further proceedings and place the defendant on probation for a period of not less than one year.”
Under the previous law, the possession of any amount of cannabis above one ounce was a felony offense punishable by between four and ten years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine.
The new law additionally reduces criminal penalties for the possession of small quantities of marijuana ‘with the intent to deliver’ from a felony offense to a misdemeanor. The law also reduces subsequent marijuana possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. Previously, second and third pot possession offenses were categorized as felonies.
Defendants found guilty of violating the state’s marijuana laws will still be subject to the loss of their driver’s license for six-months.
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