Earlier this year Governor Linc Chafee told RI Future that he wanted to wait to see “what other states do” before he considers helping Rhode Island become just the third state in the nation to legalize marijuana. But after a high profile conversation with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at the National Governors Conference this weekend he seems to be re-evaluating his options.
“The legislation to legalize marijuana is currently winding its way through the General Assembly,” said spokeswoman Faye Zuckerman. “If it were to reach his desk, the Governor would evaluate it at that time.”
Last week, it was learned that Colorado expects $133 million in new revenue after it became the first state (with Washington) to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana. Then Bloomberg News reported on Chafee’s reaction to Hickenlooper’s cautionary advice on legalization.
Colorado’s numbers “opened a lot of eyes,” Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln D. Chaffee, an independent, said in an interview. He said Colorado’s fiscal forecast fostered a discussion about whether to “regulate it and tax it in these tough times.”
Chaffee, who previously served as a Republican U.S. senator, said the ill effects of the long-running fight against drugs should hasten discussion about new approaches worldwide. He said legalization measures have been proposed in Rhode Island and didn’t rule out signing one.
“We’ll see how these bills come out of the legislature,” he said.