HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposal to reduce the penalty for possessing less than a half-ounce of marijuana has passed a key committee vote in the Connecticut General Assembly.

The new bill would impose an infraction for possessing small amounts of marijuana, instead of a misdemeanor and possible prison term. The legislation passed the finance committee Tuesday by a 31-20 vote. It moves to the Senate.

Under the bill, a second or subsequent offense would be punishable by a fine of $200 to $500.

Malloy supports the proposal as a way to help reduce the state’s prison population, making the criminal justice system more cost-effective. But Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane has said people don’t go to prison for possession of small amount of marijuana unless there are other aggravating factors.

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


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