General chatter - I need a legal definition, please

View Full Version : I need a legal definition, please

06-18-2007, 02:22 PM
No, I'm not looking for free legal advice.

What is the difference between de-criminalized and legalized?

Is it a state thing or can the feds make such rulings?

Get n healthy
06-18-2007, 03:59 PM
Well i am no expert but i do watch a lot of court tv. ha ha. So my guess is that there are things that are illegal, within the bounds of being illegal there is criminal and civil. Criminal usually pertains to jail time whereas civil usually pertains to money/a fee for punishment.

06-18-2007, 04:09 PM

Decriminalize: to eliminate criminal penalties for or remove legal restrictions against: to decriminalize marijuana.

Legalize: make legal; "Marijuana should be legalized" [ant: criminalise]

It's a really fine line IMHO and you could really use them interchangeably.

06-18-2007, 04:32 PM
Are you thinking of drugs? In that context, legalization would be the removal of all criminal penalties, i.e., legalizing marijuana would mean there would be no criminal penalties for possession, sale, distribution, etc. Marijuana could still be regulated by the government, in a way similar to the way alcohol or cigarettes are regulated.

Decriminalization is about removing criminal penalties for some behaviors while retaining penalties for others. Again in the context of drugs, decriminalizing marijuana might mean eliminating criminal penalties for possession of a certain amount, or for possession for personal use, while retaining criminal penalties for distribution, sales, etc. Again, the non-criminal use can be regulated by the government, with "violations" rather than crimes, which are penalized with fines.

How can this happen? It could be legislated on the state or the federal level. If it is legislated on the state level, which laws prevail will be determined by ensuing lawsuits. I live in California, where some marijuana use has been legalized by voters through the referendum process.

I didn't notice before you're in the Bay, so I'd guess you're familiar with 215. Sorry!

06-18-2007, 05:47 PM
I didn't notice before you're in the Bay, so I'd guess you're familiar with 215. Sorry!

Thank you very much for that answer. Yes, it answers quite a bit. My friend was asking me and I couldn't remember how to phrase it. It's been a while since I took my law class.

I'm not familiar with 215 unless that is the medical usage.

Thanks again. Where are you?

06-19-2007, 12:57 AM
Yes, Prop 215 was the medical marijuana initiative. I was wrong when I wrote referendum, rather than initiative. I mix those words up all the time. :dizzy:

I am in Humboldt Co., on the coast.