Arkansas Reduced Marijuana Penalties Go Into Effect Today

Sep 02, 2011 , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you were worried about going to prison for getting caught with marijuana in Arkansas, you can breathe a little easier today.

Back in March, the Arkansas Legislature, backed by Gov. Mike Beebe, passed a law to reduce the penalties for possession of up to four ounces of marijuana. Starting today, a judge may place a person under probation for a year without formal charge, instead of the regular sentence of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. This option is at the discretion of the judge, so be nice in court, and don’t count on this offer if you have prior convictions.

Still, it represents a huge leap forward. Until now, possession of anything over an ounce got you four to 10 in jail and a $25,000 fine. I’ll take a year of probation and no criminal record over that any day!

And while not being decriminalization, the probation option is pretty close, and the possession limit of four ounces is one of the highest of any decriminalized state in the country.

The law also makes intent to deliver small amounts of marijuana a misdemeanor instead of a felony and lessens the penalties and status of subsequent possession violations.

The fact that this is happening in Arkansas of all places is clear evidence that this country as a whole is moving in the right direction. Marijuana reformers in every state should take note and keep working hard with their local and state lawmakers to maintain this momentum. If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.

17 responses to “Arkansas Reduced Marijuana Penalties Go Into Effect Today”

  1. Sorry,but Ohio has the best possession laws,Arkansas’ 4 ounces is the STANDARD for all decrim states,Ohio allows 200 grams in one bag,do the math,thats nearly a half a pound and its not more than a $100 fine for possession……However,its time for full out legalization everywhere,stop the goverment for profiteering under the guise of morality.

  2. Wow! Who would have thought Arkansas would move to a leadership position in ending America’s stoopidest war on a plant and those who use her? California, Oregon, washington, Colorado, all looked strong to show some leadership except for the lack of – well leadership! DUH! Bravo Arkansas and I think giving more discretion to judges is absolutely the right direction. Keep going – it’s about time because no victim = no crime!

  3. Sorry but While Ohio has innovative personal possession laws it also has a DRACONIAN 8-year mandatory sentence for 20,000+ grams (45lbs). To put it in context, fed guidelines for 45lbs is less than 2 years! You’d have to approach 200,000 grams to get 8 years fed time.

    While it’s great that personal possession laws are evolving towards decriminalization, we still have much work left advocating every state reform its laws to be much lower than the fed’s 5-year mandatory for 100kgs. Let’s get cracking, Ohio!

  4. I find it rather ironic, that on the one year anniversary of my arrest and subsequent Felony Conviction for cultivating 25 Medicinal Cannabis plants, that this law should be put into effect today…In Arkansas, and all the other states as far as I know—that a defendant cannot even make mention of the fact that their “reason” for growing and using Cannabis was to treat a chronic, severe illness, for which all other medications have proved ineffective, or have inherently horrible side-effects as bad, or worse, than the illness itself. That is the same as being tried for murder, yet not being permitted to tell the jury that it was committed in self-defense! I just hope and pray that this state will be able to get a Medicinal Cannabis Law passed by the voters in 2012…If you CAN sign the Petition that is now circulating in Arkansas, I urge you to please do so as soon as possible—-and then, please spread the word!

  5. Truly groundbreaking. Did MPP spearhead this legislative effort? Shows that the west coast and new egland states are not the only bastions of reform.

  6. But sad thing is they will still arrest you ,possibly assault you and take the smoke . Waist officers time and Department resources. charge you for bail, court cost, AND most of all, get you on the monthly probation pay as you go system , and get some free community service (slave labor) out of you . what a crock !!!!

  7. @jay

    Yeah, isn’t it ironic that due to the draconian BS laws and the outright lies about MJ over the past 80 or so years that the American people have been ass spanked resulting in folks saying that ‘it is a move in the right direction’. I suppose they have a point, but oh the irony of it all…

  8. Thanks again for the brave move forward from the Gov. Mike Beebe to the legislators and other staff. To the people that support advocate marijuana reform. Thumbs up!!!!!

  9. i for one would love to have a choce to use med mj bcase right know im on pain killers that r constontly doin damege to me an its a narcotic i have cronic pain from a car reck in 99 an i have to wery about someone stillin them like a kid gets ahold of my pills an dies how am i to cope with that kids are diein all over the country from prescription drugs they get out of familys meds an the gov dosnt see its there falt this is takin place lig mj for pep an get the pain pills of the strets an out of the hands of kids small sackrfice fore the life of a child im just sayin if it was lig there wouldnt be as many prescription drugs avalible to children bc most pep would rather use a plant grown from the earth than a pill made from man

  10. please please let us have the right to medical marajuna.imagine the money that we could keep in our state and the people that would be helped from this.iam in bad health and there are so many people that could benafit from this.please pass this medical marajuna.imagine all the money that could be saved in our state insted of the trafficers.

  11. Shawn Rigsby, I can only assume that your consumption of marijuana has affected your ability to spell, form sentences, etc. If you attended school, you should sue the district because you are borderline illiterate.People such as yourself are the best case against passing acceptance and changing current laws.

  12. The reduced law ok but what about the people who stuck with random drug test and probation wheres the law to help America say in God they trust lol but gays can get married and adopt kids stealing the kids choice of right and wrong but tell grown men and women their not allowed to smoke marijuana is both wrong and the work of Satan 49%yes 51%no 2.9% desegrated voters due to felons we need a recount something to similar in numbers to be accurate!!! 2900ways

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