South Carolina – State representative Mike Pitts is a retired Greenville police officer … So a bill he just prefiled might surprise some people.
It would decriminalize the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.
It would not legalize it … But instead of a -criminal- offense … It would be a civil case with a fine … Instead of possible jail time.
“As a law enforcement officer, the biggest thing that I see is a person can be arrested for a small amount, a half-a-joint, for instance. Criminal record stays there forever unless they have it expunged.”
If his bill becomes law … Someone arrested for possession of an ounce or less would -not- have a criminal record … Which can keep them from getting some jobs.
State Law Enforcement division chief mark keel does -not- think it should pass.
“As a law enforcement officer, I’m not going to be in favor of any legislation that encourages the possession of narcotics by our young people.”
“Representative Pitts and Chief Keel say one ounce of marijuana, or 28 grams, is about one-third of a typical sandwich baggie.”
The bill says the marijuana could -not- be packaged in smaller bags for distribution.
That -would- still be a crime.
Chief Keel says he doesn’t know of anyone who’s gone to jail for possession of such a small amount.
But this bill would prevent it.
“Do people typically get jail time for this amount anyway?”
“No, but they can, and it’s treated more harshly than a person that creates a worse offense by drinking alcohol.”
He says as an officer … He had all kinds of problems with drunks … But never had to fight or chase someone on marijuana.
Under this bill, the fine for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana would be at least $100, but no more than $200 for the first offense.
A second offense fine would range from $200 to a $1000.
The bill also prevents someone from being arrested.
New Bill In SC To Change Lessen Offenses Of Marijuana
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