Attorney general proposes changes in narcotics cases

February 25, 2019

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s attorney general is proposing that possession of small amounts of narcotics be charged as misdemeanors instead of felonies.

Attorney General Peter Neronha said in a statement that the proposal would reduce the impact that drug addiction can have on someone’s ability to find a job or housing while allowing law enforcement to focus its resources on drug dealers.

Under the proposal, simple possession for personal use of drugs other than marijuana would be a misdemeanor if the amount is 1 once or less. Marijuana possession of similar amounts is already a civil violation.

The attorney general’s office says more than 20 other states already make possession of small amounts of drugs other than marijuana a misdemeanor.

The bill is being sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey of Warwick.