A bill currently pending in the House would decrease the penalties for less serious offenses. For example, the bill would allow those charged with possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis or possession of paraphernalia to receive a mere civil citation and a fine of $100. The bill would additionally allow violators to complete community service hours instead of paying civil fines, meaning there will be less of a burden on those who cannot afford to pay.
While the bill is definitely a move in the right direction, it has some built-in limitations. Officers still have the discretion to charge the offense as a misdemeanor; it is merely permissive that they could issue a civil citation instead. Additionally, a person may only receive a limited number of civil citations (2), and if the person contests the violation, they waive their smaller civil penalty and may instead receiving a larger penalty.
As of March 2, 2021, the bill has been filed in the house and has gone through its 1st reading.