“This report builds a rock solid case for legalizing and regulating marijuana in 2017,” said Jared Moffat, director of Regulate Rhode Island. “Given some of the misleading and inaccurate assertions we have heard from opponents of regulation, it is important that we provide lawmakers and the public well-sourced data and evidence about what is happening in other states.”
The report concludes that legalizing and regulating marijuana in 2017 is the “pragmatic choice” for Rhode Island, noting that retail marijuana stores will likely open in 2018 in Massachusetts cities just across the border, such as Attleboro and Fall River. It also highlights data that shows regulating marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington is having positive effects and not resulting in many of the negative effects that opponents predicted.
“Regulating marijuana is the smart and responsible policy from a public health and safety perspective,” said Senator Joshua Miller (D-Cranston), who is sponsoring Senate Bill 420. “It is also the smart and responsible policy from an economic and fiscal perspective. If we do not pass legislation this year, we will be sending millions in tax revenue to our neighbor while that money could have been put to good use here our state.”
The report covers a wide range of topics including the economic impact of legal marijuana in other states, recent data on teen marijuana use rates, and marijuana arrest statistics for Rhode Island.
“Economic and fiscal considerations alone do not provide sufficient reason to adopt a new policy,” said Moffat. “Other states are demonstrating that regulation works and experiencing the benefits of regulating a popular product that was previously uncontrolled in the underground market. Adopting legislation this year would make Rhode Island safer and boost our economy at the same time. Now is the time to move forward.”
You can watch the press conference here:
Regulate Rhode Island is a coalition of community leaders, organizations, and residents committed to ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. Member organizations include the Rhode Island NAACP, Rhode Island ACLU, Rhode Island Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Rhode Island Working Families, Rhode Island Sierra Club, Rhode Island Young Democrats, Clergy for a New Drug Policy, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and the Marijuana Policy Project, among others.