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Marijuana possession in small amounts not criminal act

Have you ever wondered exactly why having marijuana on your person is considered a crime? Marijuana is all natural, and some think it's a good alternative to traditional medical treatments. A recent development in our nation's capital made marijuana legal to have on the streets. The specifics of this law might interest readers in Maryland who travel to D.C. often.

A law has gone into effect that decriminalizes marijuana possession in small amounts. The House has passed a bill that has an amendment that would halt the decriminalization, so it isn't clear how long the decriminalization would last.

Before the law went into effect that decriminalizes marijuana, people with less than an ounce of marijuana would get up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months of jail time. Now, that amount is a civil matter that carries a $25 fine. Even smoking marijuana in public now has a lesser consequence than before. Previously, smoking marijuana was up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Now, the consequence is up to 60 days in jail with a fine of up to $500.

While this might sound like good news for people who want to enjoy the freedom of being able to relax with marijuana, don't get too excited yet. It is still a criminal offense to grow, sell or possess over an ounce of the drug.

Anyone who faces criminal charges for marijuana has the right to defend themselves against the charges. Knowing how to present your defense might help you as you try to fight the charges in the court system.

Source: CBS DC, "Pot Decriminalization Goes Into Effect Thursday" Jul. 16, 2014

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