Bill description: HB 491 would decriminalize the possession of minor amounts of marijuana for a first-time offense.
Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non- violent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?
Currently, if an individual is convicted of possession of marijuana in an amount less than three ounces, he has committed a misdemeanor and can be fined up to $1,000 and receive a sentence of up to one year in jail. Under HB 491, if an individual was convicted of having possession of less than one-half ounce, the maximum penalty would be an infraction with a $250 fine and required participation in a four-hour drug abuse education course. Alternatively, the individual could opt to perform eight hours of community service and take the drug-abuse education course.