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Filed Under: U.S.

Does decriminalizing marijuana make it legal?

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Decriminalizing marijuana does not make it legal to carry it. However, consequences differ between recreational and medical uses.

SHANNON LONGWORTH, REPORTER: WHEN IT COMES TO POT, THINGS CAN GET FUZZY FAST.

WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF CANNABIS, WHICH CAN BE CONFUSING.

LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHT.

ONE…DECRIMINALIZATION DOES NOT MAKE MARIJUANA LEGAL.

BUT IT DOES LESSEN THE CRIME.

WHICH MEANS HAVING A SMALL AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA WOULD NO LONGER GET YOU ARRESTED.

SO, LET’S SAY A POLICE OFFICER CATCHES YOU SMOKING A JOINT.
INSTEAD OF FACING JAIL TIME, YOU MAY GET A CITATION LIKE A PARKING TICKET.

TWO…DECRIMINALIZATION ONLY REFERS TO RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA USE.  MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT BEAST.

ON TO THREE…A BIG ARGUMENT FOR DECRIMINALIZATION IS DISCRIMINATION. A LOT MORE PEOPLE OF COLOR END UP IN JAIL FOR MINOR OFFENSES.

ON THE FLIP SIDE THOSE OPPOSED TO DECRIMINALIZATION SAY POT ISN’T AS HARMLESS AS WE’RE LED TO BELIEVE. THEY SAY IT’S STILL A VICE AND A GATEWAY DRUG THAT CAN LEAD TO HARDER DRUGS.

FOUR…RIGHT NOW, MORE THAN HALF THE COUNTRY HAS DECRIMINALIZED MARIJUANA. WHILE ONLY FIFTEEN STATES AND WASHINGTON DC HAVE FULLY LEGALIZED IT.

AND FINALLY…EVERYTHING WE’VE SPOKEN ABOUT SO FAR HAS TO DO WITH STATE LAW.

DESPITE THE URGING OF MANY DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS, POSSESSION OF POT IS STILL A FEDERAL CRIME.

SO NOW, YOU KNOW WHAT DECRIMINALIZATION MEANS, A KEY ARGUMENT FOR AND AGAINST IT AND WHERE POT IS CURRENTLY DECRIMINALIZED.

GOT IT STRAIGHT? LET US KNOW.

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