Simple Definition of decriminalize
: to make (something that is illegal) legal by changing the law
Full Definition of decriminalize
: to remove or reduce the criminal classification or status of; especially : to repeal a strict ban on while keeping under some form of regulation <decriminalize the possession of marijuana>
decriminalizationplay \(ˌ)dē-ˌkri-mə-nə-lə-ˈzā-shən, -ˌkrim-nəl-\ noun
Did You Know?
Decriminalization of various "victimless crimes"--crimes that don't directly harm others, such as private gambling and drug-taking--has been recommended by conservatives as well as liberals, who often claim that it would ease the burden on the legal system, decrease the amount of money flowing to criminals, and increase personal liberty. Decriminalization is not the same as legalization; decriminalization may still call for a small fine (like a traffic ticket), and may apply only to use or possession of something, leaving the actual sale of goods or services illegal.
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