Tax & Regulate Marijuana In 2017 — Now Is The Time
This can be the year that Rhode Island legalizes marijuana for adult recreational use but you have to help. We’ve got the votes — we just need to kick this thing out of committee! So you need to make a phone call or two. Go here to Take Action. (Find your legislators and contact info. A simple script is provided; make that call.)
In a press conference presented by Regulate RI at the state house yesterday, legislation sponsors Senator Josh Miller and Representative Scott Slater made it clear — they have the votes! It just has to get out of committee. The website has posted the video from the press conference where professionals with firsthand experience spoke out on the social justice, public health, and law enforcement ramifications of marijuana prohibition. Also, Regulate RI director Jared Moffat presented his new and fantastic report — Now is the Time — that addresses common concerns and questions, citing studies, surveys, and statistics particularly from the states where marijuana has been legalized. This comprehensive, but easy to digest, report uses facts that will easily counter the current “reefer madness” misinformation campaign being mounted by the attorney general’s office (a campaign funded by taxpayers).
The Providence Journal covered the press conference on the front page “Marijuana legalization champions in R.I. legislature again say they have the votes.”
. . . Miller said support has grown since last year. The House bill is sponsored by 25 of 75 representatives. The Senate bill is sponsored by 15 of 38 senators. Others, Miller said, don’t want to publicly back the bills but have pledged their support.
. . . This year’s marijuana legalization bills have also picked up new support from some high-profile lawmakers, including Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, House Majority Whip John G. Edwards, D-Tiverton, and Deputy Speaker Charlene Lima, D-Cranston. Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, D-North Providence, is also a sponsor.
What is new this year? Massachusetts just voted to legalize marijuana, a fact not lost on your more economy-minded legislators. As Representative Slater stated yesterday, “If we do not act, our neighbor to the north will be thrilled.”
Fun fact: The bill before the senate is S-0420. Nobody I have spoken with can explain.
Go here to Take Action. Call your senator and representative. Call the Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello at (401) 222-2466 and tell him to bring this to a vote! (He may respond to the jobs and tax revenue argument.)
(I am a speaker with Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), an organization of former police officers, prosecutors, judges, and other members of the law enforcement community who are standing up for criminal justice reform.)