Add Rhode Island Deputy Public Defender Barbara Hurst to the list of people who think the state should decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. In fact, she endorsed legalizing and taxing marijuana too.
She sent a letter to the Senate committee considering a bill tonight that would make possession of less than an ounce of pot punishable by $150 ticket instead of up to a year in jail.
“The RIPD is of the opinion that the changes contained within these two pieces of legislation, while taking different approaches, make sensible and timely modifications to our state’s criminal justice and enforcement policies The RIPD is also of the opinion that the collateral benefits to be realized from these changes would be added revenue to the state, and a more efficient allocation of limited criminal justice resources.
Seventy years of marijuana prohibition have turned a little-known medicinal herb into a product that’s been used by nearly half of all Americans, including President Barack Obama and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Given this widespread use and acceptance the state has no business making responsible, adult marijuana consumers into criminals. And independent scientific research consistently concludes that marijuana is far safer than alcohol- both in risk of addiction and toxicity.”
Ending the prohibition on marijuana, she said in her letter, could save the state some $12 million.
Read the full letter HERE.