Small Amount of Marijuana Decriminalized in Del. Starting Friday - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Small Amount of Marijuana Decriminalized in Del. Starting Friday

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - A big change in marijuana laws takes effect Friday in Delaware. Small amounts of the drug will be decriminalized.

Authorities have stressed that is not the same as making them legal. Things illegal Thursday are still illegal Friday. Some penalties are different though.

Being caught with an ounce or less of marijuana will now, instead of being a crime,  lead to a civil fine of $100. There won't be an arrest nor jail time. Police will confiscate the drugs.

Possession of any amount will still be a crime for kids under 18. And between the ages of 18 and 21, it is a civil penalty the first time and a crime after that.

Many officers carry scales with them to weigh drugs they find.

"Depending on how much a person has on them, they'll be given a civil citation. They'll have to answer that in court accordingly. Anything above the allowed quantity will continue to be a criminal violation," said Cpl. Mark Hoffman, spokesman for the Dover Police Department. 

Use is still a crime. Public use is a crime. Driving under the influence is still a crime.

Having paraphernalia for using a small amount of weed will be a $100 civil fine. And it won't be assessed if a person has already been fined for having less than an ounce.

Up to now possession of up to an ounce of pot has been a crime punishable by up to a nearly $600 fine and three months in jail

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said that in Maryland possession under 10 grams - about a third of an ounce - is a civil fine. Like Delaware, it costs a violator $100.

NORML said in Virginia possession of up to half an ounce is a crime. After the first offense it can carry serious penalties.

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