BRISTOL, R.I___ Legalization of marijuana sparks controversy nationwide, and now the conversation is making its way to the Rhode Island statehouse.
There is new legislation that was recently introduced by Sen. Josh Miller and Rep. Scott Slater, joined by members of Regulate Rhode Island. Rep. Slater and Sen. Miller’s goal is to treat the regulation of marijuana like the regulation of alcohol. Rep. Slater compares prohibition in the 1920’s, when alcohol was banned in American, to today with the marijuana situation.
Rhode Island Representative Scott Slater explains his reason to fight for this bill to pass.
The proposed bill would make marijuana laws very similar to alcohol laws, and in a recent poll of 762 Rhode Island voters, 57 percent support the legalization and taxation of marijuana. Medical marijuana is already legal in Rhode Island, and there are three dispensaries in the state.
Below: 3 medical marijuana dispensary locations in Rhode Island
Some argue that legalizing recreational use of marijuana would change Rhode Island in positive ways. Marijuana legalization could boost Rhode Island’s economy, according to a report issued by OpenDoors. The report estimates that the proposed Rhode Island model would generate between $21.5 and $82 million a year in a much needed new tax revenue.
Marijuana would be still be illegal to smoke in public, but this new proposed bill would eliminate underground markets, allowing the government to regulate and benefit from sales. Legal marijuana is also the fastest growing industry in the U.S., according to a recent report from industry analysts ArcView Group.
Legalizing marijuana might not be the exact answer to Rhode Island’s struggling economy, but it could spark a bright future for Rhode Island and other states across the country that are considering similar legislation.
Leave a comment and let us know your opinion on this matter and if you believe the legalization of marijuana could bring economic prosperity to Rhode Island.