Bill would reduce punishment for possessing pot
LANSING, MI (AP)-- A bill recently introduced in the Michigan House would lessen penalties for residents caught with small amounts of marijuana.
Democratic Representative Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor's legislation would make possession of one ounce or less of marijuana a civil infraction. Fines would be based on whether it's the first, second or third violation.
Currently, possessing pot can lead to misdemeanor charges with heavy fines and jail time.
Irwin says in a statement that Michigan spends more than $300 million a year arresting and imprisoning marijuana offenders. He says the state's policies aimed at preventing marijuana use aren't working.
The bill is also backed by two House Republicans. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.