Efforts to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize use of small amounts gain traction.
By DAVID KLEPPER The Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Catharine Leach is married and has two boys, ages 2 and 8. She has a good job with a federal contractor and smokes pot most every day.
In this March 28, 2011, file photo shows a marijuana plant, in Portland, Ore. Efforts to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize use of small amounts have gained traction in numerous states. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
STATES EASE RESTRICTIONS
STATES THAT have decriminalized the possession of limited amounts of marijuana:
Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, NORML
While she worries that her public support for marijuana decriminalization and legalization could cost her a job or bring the police to her door, the 30-year-old Warwick resident said she was tired of feeling like a criminal for using a drug that she believes is far less harmful than the glass of wine or can of beer enjoyed by so many others after a long day’s work. Like others around the nation working to relax penalties for possession of pot, she decided to stop hiding and speak out.
“I’m done being afraid,” she said. “People in this country are finally coming around and seeing that putting someone in jail for this doesn’t make sense. It’s