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

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
He said this would decriminalize the offense, but violators could still be cited for violations.
The measure would decriminalize simple marijuana possession.
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