MONTPELIER — If you are caught speeding, running a stop sign, buying cigarettes under age 18 or burning trash, you'll get in trouble. You're likely to get a ticket and have to pay a fine, but you won't go to jail and you won't end up with a criminal record.
Legislators who support decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana argue the same should be true if you're caught with a small amount of the drug.
"It's a civil violation that in my mind sends a message that something's not proper. We still penalize it. We don't think it merits a criminal conviction," said Rep. Richard Marek, D-Newfane, a sponsor of the marijuana decriminalization bill.