decriminalize

verb
de·​crim·​i·​nal·​ize | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈkri-mə-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce decriminalize (audio) , -ˈkrim-nəl- \
decriminalized; decriminalizing; decriminalizes

Definition of decriminalize

transitive verb

: 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

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Other Words from decriminalize

decriminalization \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌkri-​mə-​nə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce decriminalization (audio) , -​ˌkrim-​nəl-​ \ noun

Examples of decriminalize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The House doesn't come back until Sept. 14 for a schedule laden with lower-profile measures such as clean-energy legislation and a bill to decriminalize marijuana. Arkansas Online, "GOP proposes 'targeted' virus aid, but Dems say not enough," 9 Sep. 2020 The House doesn’t come back until Sept. 14 for a schedule laden with lower-profile measures such as clean-energy legislation and a bill to decriminalize marijuana. Andrew Taylor, Anchorage Daily News, "Senate Republicans propose ‘targeted’ pandemic aid, but Democrats say it’s not enough," 9 Sep. 2020 The House doesn’t come back until Sept. 14 for a schedule laden with lower-profile measures such as clean energy legislation and a bill to decriminalize marijuana. Andrew Taylor, chicagotribune.com, "Second stimulus check updates: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Senate to vote on ’targeted’ coronavirus aid package," 8 Sep. 2020 The House doesn't come back until Sept. 14 for a schedule laden with lower-profile measures such as clean energy legislation and a bill to decriminalize marijuana. Andrew Taylor, Star Tribune, "Hopes fading for coronavirus deal as Congress returns," 7 Sep. 2020 In 1973, just three years after federal officials classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, the state became the first to decriminalize it, making possession of small amounts similar to a traffic ticket. oregonlive, "Oregon could herald a research-driven psychedelic renaissance: Psilocybin helped a Navy SEAL cope, could aide many more if voters say yes," 2 Sep. 2020 The bill would deschedule cannabis (marijuana), and therefore decriminalize it at the federal level. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "What to Know About the MORE Act, the Bill That Would Deschedule Cannabis," 2 Sep. 2020 Now a growing chorus, including top public health officials, the premier of British Columbia and the nation’s police chiefs, is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs for personal use. Washington Post, "Canada’s other health crisis: As overdoses surge, officials call on government to decriminalize illicit drugs," 16 Aug. 2020 Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, a 21-year-old sociology and anthropology student at Thammasat University, called for sweeping changes that would decriminalize insulting the royal family, curb its powers and make palace spending auditable. ... Feliz Solomon, WSJ, "Questioning Thailand’s Monarchy Was Off-Limits. Now Protesters Are Doing Just That.," 15 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decriminalize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of decriminalize

1969, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for decriminalize

Time Traveler

The first known use of decriminalize was in 1969

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Statistics for decriminalize

Last Updated

13 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decriminalize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decriminalize. Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for decriminalize

decriminalize

verb
How to pronounce decriminalize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of decriminalize

: to make (something that is illegal) legal by changing the law

decriminalize

transitive verb
de·​crim·​i·​nal·​ize | \ dē-ˈkri-mən-ᵊl-ˌīz How to pronounce decriminalize (audio) \
decriminalized; decriminalizing

Legal Definition of decriminalize

: to remove or reduce the criminal classification or status of

Other Words from decriminalize

decriminalization \ dē-​ˌkri-​mən-​ᵊl-​ə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce decriminalization (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on decriminalize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decriminalize

Nglish: Translation of decriminalize for Spanish Speakers

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