Loosening RI marijuana laws - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Decriminalization of Marijuana goes into effect

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Andrea Medeiros

amedeiros@abc6.com

A local mother is worried about Rhode Island's new marijuana law that kicks in Monday. Under the new law, you'll no longer face any jail time if you're caught with small amounts of pot. Instead people caught with marijuana will have to pay a 150 dollar fine, which has many people divided.

Gabrielle Abbate has been battling drunk driving in Rhode Island for two decades, and now she has a new fight, marijuana.

"You add another drug to that mix and you take it casually, and I think this will create a casual attitude about it," said Abbate, "And yeah I do worry. I worry about serious injury and deaths escalating."

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Executive Director Abbate says this isn't the time to loosen marijuana laws.

"We don't even have drunk driving sewed up," she said, "We don't even have that. I mean, we're still losing up to 25 people every year in our state, you know, to drunk driving, alcohol related crashes."

Abbate says the new law that starts Monday will have more people smoking pot. "It's going to be opening up a can of worms," she said.

But others don't think it'll change anything. "People who are into marijuana, they're going to have the one ounce on them anyway regardless if there is a law or there is not a law," said Deverine Allen.

"It's better that they catch people that have more than an ounce, because it's more intended to people who are probably trying to sell rather than people who use it for recreational use," said Stephanie Sylva.

 At the same time, Rhode Island's first medical marijuana dispensaries are preparing to open. We're now one of 13 states to decriminalize marijuana. Massachusetts is also one of them.

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