North Carolina State Rep. Kelly Alexander, Jr. (D-Mecklenburg) introduced a bill to downgrade the penalty for simple possession of marijuana in the state. H637, which was co-sponsored by seven of Rep. Alexander’s Democratic colleagues, passed first reading Wednesday and was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.
Currently, individuals in North Carolina convicted of possession of under a half-ounce of marijuana typically receive a fine and a suspended sentence. While the existing law keeps most marijuana consumers out of jail, it still leaves individuals with stigmatizing criminal records.
Under H637, those found possessing less than an ounce of marijuana would receive a civil infraction rather than a suspended sentence and a rap sheet. The bill also allows past offenders to have their records expunged.
If you live in North Carolina, ask your lawmakers to join Rep. Alexander in bringing sensible reform to the state then urge your friends and family to do the same.