Marijuana Reform News Review Rhode Island:
Like many states around the U.S., marijuana reform in Rhode Island continues to evolve. Although recreational marijuana is not yet legal in the state of Rhode Island, law makers decided in 2012 to pass a law to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is now just penalized with a fine of $150 and criminal penalties are considered after three repeat offenses. A recent Public Policy Polling revealed that close to 60 percent of Rhode Island voters support the idea of replacing prohibition of marijuana with regulation of marijuana. One avenue for this could be the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act.
The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act:
In general, the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act would allow adults, 21 years of age or older, to possess and cultivate a limited amount of cannabis. The Act would also direct the Department of Business Regulation to license and regulate marijuana producers and a number of retail marijuana shops. There is a diverse group of supporters that back this act. In addition to local business owners, community leaders, medical doctors and clergy; groups like the Rhode Island Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Rhode Island Republican Caucus and the New England Area Conference of NAACP Chapters all back the end of marijuana prohibition in the state of Rhode Island. Rhode Island could be one of the few states in the U.S. that permits the use of recreational marijuana, and the Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act could be the stepping stone that leads to this reality.
It should be noted that this year is actually the fourth year during which legislation to regulate and tax recreational marijuana has been introduced in the state of Rhode Island. Rhode Island could be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana use, but then again, they were close to doing this same thing several years ago. State Rep. Scott Slater believes that regulating and taxing recreational marijuana would take sales away from the underground black market and into the light of legitimate business practice. Taxing marijuana will generate tens of millions of dollars for the state of Rhode Island. According to recent analysis from the Marijuana Policy Project, Rhode Island is set to pull in approximately $58 million more a year in tax revenue if recreational marijuana is made legal. Other states are reaping the tax revenue benefits of legal marijuana, and Rhode Island could be the next.