verb (used with object), decriminalized, decriminalizing.
to eliminate criminal penalties for or remove legal restrictions against: to decriminalize marijuana.
Also, especially British, decriminalise.

1965–70, Americanism; de- + criminal + -ize

decriminalization, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
decriminalize or decriminalise (diːˈkrɪmənəˌlaɪz)
(tr) to remove (an action) from the legal category of criminal offence: to decriminalize the possession of marijuana
decriminalise or decriminalise
decriminali'zation or decriminalise
decriminali'sation or decriminalise

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1945, from de- + criminal + ization. Especially in reference to narcotics since c.1968.

1963, "to reform a criminal," back-formation from decriminalization. Meaning "to make legal something that formerly had been illegal" was in use by 1970 (there are isolated instances back to 1867).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Sea changes in policy, such as decriminalization or legalization of drugs, look politically untenable.
He also smoked his share of marijuana and in his later years called for its decriminalization.
Removing profits from drug trafficking through decriminalization would be a better solution than jury nullification.
The decriminalization of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and marijuana.
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