, Salem, MA


November 15, 2012

RI, Maine lawmakers seek to legalize pot


The threat of federal drug raids will be a concern as long as there is a conflict between state and federal drug policy, Russell said. She noted proposals in Congress that would prevent federal intervention in states that have legalized marijuana.

“The people are far ahead of the politicians on this,” Russell said. “Just in the past few weeks, we’ve seen the culture shift dramatically.”

Ajello introduced legislation to legalize marijuana in Rhode Island in 2011 and again this year, but the bills never went to a vote. Instead, lawmakers voted to replace criminal penalties for adults caught with a small amount of pot with something more like a parking ticket.

When the new law takes effect April 1, adults caught with an ounce or less of marijuana would face a $150 civil fine. Police would confiscate the marijuana, but the incident would not appear on a person’s criminal record. It will still be illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, and minors caught with pot would have to complete a drug awareness program and community service.

The author of the decriminalization bill, state Rep. John Edwards, D-Tiverton, said he thinks Rhode Island should see how decriminalization works before it potentially picks a bigger fight with federal authorities over legalization.

One opponent of legalization said legalization would send the wrong message to children and increase the number of people driving while high. But Rhode Island state Rep. Joseph Trillo, R-Warwick, said he worries legalization may be inevitable.

“I’m hoping this goes nowhere,” he said. “But I think we’re getting closer and closer to doing this.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

Local News
  • Protest song’s rap video strikes chord

    The public’s anger and frustration with Market Basket leadership continues to become more vocal.
    Employees and customers of the supermarket chain are voicing their support for the return of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, protesting outside stores and refusing to shop there.
    Now, there is even a rap video that’s helping to rally even more support for the popular former executive and store employees.

    August 1, 2014

  • Police Beverly Wednesday Police were called to Sohier Road at 6:04 p.m. on a report of a woman going through trash. The woman related that she was gathering scraps from the Dumpster for the birds. Her son confirmed over the phone that this is normal behavio

    August 1, 2014

  • Correction A story in Thursday's edition, "Music, ice cream and family fun abound at Salem Heritage Days," requires correction. Heritage Days is now in its 53rd year. Also, only two of four events for Salem seniors -- the ice cream social on Monday and the seni

    August 1, 2014

  • Officials look for sex offender who cut off GPS bracelet SALEM -- Police and probation officials are searching for a Level 3 sex offender who cut off a court-mandated GPS bracelet on Tuesday and disappeared. Matthew John Delima, 31, who is registered as homeless and living in Salem, had just learned that

    July 31, 2014

  • Marquis Campbell, Steven Diaz indicted on human trafficking, kidnapping charges

    DANVERS -- A grand jury has indicted two men who, police say, used motels in Saugus and Danvers after kidnapping a woman and coercing her into prostitution over three days, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Thursday. One of the defendants in

    July 31, 2014