(5.16) “We’ve studied pot long enough!” so say State Senator Josh Miller and Representative Scott Slater in their excellent column in Thursday’s Providence Journal*. They are the primary sponsors of the legislation to legalize marijuana. And they have been pushing for marijuana reform for years now. This year there is an alternate bill competing for your attention, one that calls for “a study commission” which sounds reasonable enough, except for one thing — we’ve been studying this topic for over seven years!
What a perfect Mother’s Day gift! The table of contents gets you quickly to all the arguments in favor of ending prohibition — from social justice to the economic advantages. The analysis includes easy-to-read charts and graphs that make sense of the data, all of which are supported by citations to solid sources. There are 47 endnotes citing statistics and studies from the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the CDC, as well as Forbes, The Denver Post, The Cato Institute, and assorted business journals and university studies coming out of the states where marijuana has been legalized. This IS the study!
So what is really behind this study commission maneuver? Senator Miller and Representative Slater make it very clear that a vote for “more study” is a vote for continued prohibition. (ProJo 5.10.17)
The choice we must make is straightforward: prohibition or regulation. Approving this “study commission” is a decision to continue prohibition. We already have an overwhelming amount of data and evidence that shows regulation is the smarter, more responsible public policy.
From Regulate RI director Jared Moffat,
We have debated this issue for years. Three out of five Rhode Islanders support legalizing and regulating marijuana.
It’s time for the General Assembly to hold a vote on legislation that would end the failed policy of prohibition. Even if the bill is defeated, the 60% of Rhode Islanders who support this change in policy will know where members of the General Assembly stand on the issue.
*The Providence Journal editorial board has made its position perfectly clear by illustrating the thoughtful and enlightened Miller/Slater column with an unsympathetic photo of some dude with a knife tattoo smoking a bong. Perhaps a picture of a black man in a prison cell would have been more to the point.
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