Definition of decriminalize in English:



  • Cease by legislation to treat (something) as illegal.

    ‘a battle to decriminalize drugs’
    • ‘They want to decriminalize sex work, which is something quite different from legalizing it, as we learned with marijuana.’
    • ‘Britain had decriminalized homosexual acts in private between consenting adults in the Sexual Offenses Act 1967.’
    • ‘Belgium will join the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Italy in officially decriminalizing personal possession of cannabis, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt announced at a press conference last Friday.’
    • ‘I'm not saying legalise it, just decriminalise it in certain areas.’
    • ‘It has decriminalized medical marijuana, legalized assisted suicide and earlier this year, began granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the Portland area.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the South African Law Commission published a discussion document in 2002 calling for alterations to the Sexual Offences Act, including the possibility of legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution.’
    • ‘A number of European countries have decriminalised possession of cannabis or have softened laws in the area.’
    • ‘Similarly in 1993, the Oireachtas passed legislation decriminalising homosexual acts between consenting adults.’
    • ‘What is clear from this brief examination is that the decision to criminalise or decriminalise particular activities, whether by judicial decision or legislation, is far from straightforward.’
    • ‘This measure formally decriminalized the use of illegal drugs.’
    • ‘Tsai restated yesterday that the current aim of the small three links is only to decriminalize illegal trading that already exists in the Taiwan Strait.’
    • ‘We will not legalize or decriminalize any drugs, nor do we envisage a time when this would be appropriate.’
    • ‘After more than a year of internal debate, the Canadian government introduced legislation this week to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana but set stricter penalties for trafficking of the drug.’
    • ‘In the financial world, the larceny is effectively decriminalized - culprits typically settle in cash with fines or settlements, without admitting guilt but promising not to do it again.’
    • ‘Also in Spain, the Catalan Parliament unanimously approved a resolution to decriminalize the use of medical marijuana.’
    • ‘Within a few years, the American Law Institute recommended decriminalizing consensual acts between adults, and many states subsequently revised their penal codes.’
    • ‘There are three options available to alleviate this problem, keeping it a criminal offence, decriminalize it and legalize it.’
    • ‘Federal and local governments are liberalizing drug laws, decriminalizing marijuana and allowing safe-injection centers to open in Vancouver.’
    • ‘It is illegal but it is decriminalised which means that there are places that it can be consumed.’
    • ‘Although marijuana is technically illegal, personal consumption is arguably decriminalized due to the ‘ban on excessive punishment’ written into German law.’
    make legal, decriminalize, legitimize, legitimatize, legitimate, validate, ratify, permit, allow, admit, accept, authorize, sanction, warrant, license, approve, countenance, pronounce lawful, give the stamp of approval to
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