Nebraska: Legislature Considers ‘Recriminalizing’ Pot Possession Offenses

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This from NORML

Lincoln, NE: Nebraska lawmakers are considering legislation that would overturn the state’s long-standing marijuana decriminalization law and replace it with strict criminal punishments.

As introduced, Legislative Bill 844 would raise penalties for minor marijuana possession from a civil citation (punishable by a $100 fine) to a class III misdemeanor – punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine, and attendance in a drug rehabilitation/educational program.

The bill is currently before the Judiciary Committee.

NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre criticized the measure, stating: "Passage of LB 844 could potentially expose thousands of minor marijuana offenders to a variety of serious penalties – including probation and mandatory drug testing, loss of employment, loss of child custody, removal from subsidized housing, asset forfeiture, loss of federal student aid, and the loss of certain federal welfare benefits such as food stamps."

A similar ‘recriminalization’ measure was rejected by the legislature in 2003.

Nebraska is one of twelve states that have enacted marijuana decriminalization – replacing criminal sanctions with the imposition of fine-only penalties for minor pot violators. Four additional states – Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont – are considering enacting marijuana decriminalization measures this year.

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