It’s happening. The sale of recreational marijuana to adults 21-and-older begins Thursday. Last May, the Rhode Island legislature legalized recreational marijuana use for adults, allowing a limited number of existing dispensaries to start selling on December 1st (new operations will open once they have cleared various regulatory hurdles and such). Here in Providence we have the Thomas C. Slater Center which has been selling medical marijuana for sometime now, and they will continue to do so. (Card holders pay fewer taxes. With the new 10% cannabis tax added in, recreational sales will be taxed at 20%. WPRI)
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rep. Scott Slater*, Sen. Josh Miller, and Rep. Edith Ajello for their tireless efforts. Their legislative efforts were coordinated with those of various private-sector advocates by the brilliant and energetic Jared Moffat who, prior to his current position with the Marijuana Policy Project, had founded Regulate Rhode Island. Along with his wife Rebecca McGoldrick — executive director of Protect Families First — Jared spent years organizing a coalition of professionals who testified at speaking engagements around the state and before the legislative committees. And lest there be any confusion, we were all there on our own time and we weren’t being compensated. Here are some of the excellent people whose advocacy helped bring this day about. If you see them, thank them:
- Andrew Horwitz, Associate Dean at Roger Williams School of Law.
- The Reverend James Keller, Presbyterian Minister.
- Dr. Daniel Harrop, psychiatrist and longtime Republican activist. (Recently deceased . . . darn.)
- James Vincent, until recently, state chair of the Rhode Island NAACP.
- Michele McKenzie, Public Health Researcher at Miriam Hospital. She always added to her testimony her perspective as a parent.
- The Reverend Jamie P. Washam of the First Baptist Church in America.
As a speaker for Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) for over a decade, I was also a member of that coalition. I had been recruited by a recent Brown grad with whom I played Scrabble at Julian’s. Jesse Stout had been instrumental in shepherding the first Medical Marijuana legislation into existence, along with the Slaters. He currently practices public interest law in San Francisco, having continued working on marijuana reform there for many years.
The Thomas Slater Center has this note on their website: “Recreational sales of cannabis starts Thursday, Dec. 1. for adults 21+. Shop in-store or online . . . We will be open special hours this week: Thursday 8am to 9pm . . . (drive-thru 8am to 5:30pm) . . .” The building is on Corliss Street right across from the Main Post Office.
A few last thoughts: No driving while impaired. Keep your weed locked up and away from the kids. And let’s stop making edibles look like candy . . . I hate that.
*Scott Slater is the son of former Rep. Thomas Slater, who was elected to the House in 1994 and died of cancer in 2009. “He succeeded in passing the medical marijuana legislation in 2006, making Rhode Island the 11th state to allow chronically ill patients to possess small amounts of marijuana to ease their symptoms.”
Thomas C. Slater Center, 1 Corliss Street, (directions)
Shannon Hegy on WPRI News is reporting (reading) that revenue from cannabis sales in Colorado has been a disappointment. Did anybody actually check that? From The Denver Post:
Colorado’s marijuana industry can celebrate 2021 as a record-breaking year with over $2.22 billion in sales.
The new milestone follows a trend that’s grown since marijuana sales started in January 2014. Each calendar year has welcomed higher numbers, with the latest bar set in 2020 at over $2.19 billion, the state’s Revenue Department reports.
Oh rats . . . only $2.2 billion? Why even bother.