Contact your representatives in the general assembly and let them know that you support Senator Josh Miller’s plan for awarding retail pot licenses, as opposed to the governor’s alternate proposal. (It would appear that this is finally the year that Rhode Island will be legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use, joining New York, New Jersey, and those hotbeds of liberal hippiedom, Arizona and South Dakota. The discussion now seems to be which plan to adopt.)
While Governor McKee’s plan relies on a lottery system for selecting pot retailers, Senator Miller seeks to create a more competitive, inclusive, and equitable regulatory structure. According to the ProJo:
. . . state Sen. Joshua Miller, who is sponsoring a separate bill with Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey to legalize recreational use, says the lottery system has the potential to do the opposite of what it intended — while also preventing smaller entrepreneurs from entering the market.
A lottery, Miller says, “favors those who have access to capital and existing relationships” — people who have had experience formulating complicated marijuana business plans elsewhere and can absorb the investment loss if they lose the lottery draw.
I’m not sure how much thought McKee had given to the social justice issues surrounding marijuana legalization in his years as Mayor of Cumberland, but Senator Miller has been at the forefront of this fight for over a decade.
Go here for Senator Josh Miller’s statement on his bill.
If enacted, a Cannabis Control Commission would oversee a competitive and accessible licensing structure that would generate tax revenue through the sales tax, a special sales tax, and a local sales tax.
“Cannabis legalization is a monumental shift in public policy that effectively creates a new economy,” said Senator Josh Miller, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. “We want to ensure as many Rhode Islanders as possible have the opportunity to participate in this new economy. That is why we set low, tiered licensing fees and we are also calling for the creation of a Cannabis Equity Fund to help individuals who have been directly and indirectly impacted by our past policy of prohibition.”
Then we can proceed with getting people out of prison and expunging records.