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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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House passes Rep. Slater’s bill that reclassifies simple possession drug crimes to misdemeanors
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives tonight passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) which reclassifies simple possession of 10 grams or less of certain illicit drugs as misdemeanors rather than a felony.
“Individuals with substance abuse disorders are not hardened criminals or felons who should be locked away due to their disease. This bill will help those with personal drug problems get the treatment they need in order to overcome their addictions and once again become productive members of society. Compassion, care and understanding are what these people need, not penal confinement or the lifelong stigma of being a felon,” said Representative Slater.
The legislation (
) would amend the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and reclassify simple possession of 10 grams or less of certain controlled substances as a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than two years rather than a felony.
The bill states that 10 grams or less of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of a controlled substance classified in schedules I, II, III, IV, and V, except the substance classified as cannabis, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be imprisoned for not more than two years, or fined not more than $500 or both.
The legislation further amends the Uniform Controlled Substances Act by stating that one ounce to one kilogram of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl or its analogs, carfentanil, MDMA, amphetamine or methamphetamine is punishable upon conviction with a prison term of up to 50 years and a fine of not more than $500,000. Amounts of the same substances in excess of one kilogram are punishable with imprisonment for a term up to life and fines of not more than $1 million.
The act now heads to the Senate for consideration where Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) has introduced the legislation (
For more information, contact:
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
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