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Lawmakers Debate Marijuana Decriminalization

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File Photo Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Marijuana (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, making the law consistent with neighboring New York and Massachusetts.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed the legislation, up for debate Monday before the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee. Under the governor’s bill, someone charged with possessing less than one ounce of marijuana would face an infraction, punishable by a $100 fine. Currently, it’s a misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

Malloy argues the state is wasting resources on these cases. But Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane says there are 31 cases of people in state prison for possession of four ounces or less of marijuana. In every instance, he says there were other factors, such as another crime involved.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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