A proposed bill would make the drug and communities safer while raising tax revenue for the state, supporters say.
Wednesday, February 6
Release courtesy of the Legislative Press Bureau. Rep. Edith H. Ajello and Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush, joined by drug policy reform advocates, today announced legislation to legalize marijuana possession in Rhode Island for adults age 21 and older, with regulations and taxes similar to those for alcohol. “It is time for Rhode Island to put the failed policy of marijuana prohibition behind us and adopt a more sensible approach just as our nation did with alcohol 80 years ago,” said Representative Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence), who is chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee. “By keeping marijuana sales in the underground market, we are ensuring they will be uncontrolled and that those selling it are not asking for proof of age. Regulating…
The bills will now be passed to the opposing chamber for a vote. If enacted, Rhode Island would become the 15th state to decriminalize marijuana.
The Rhode Island Senate and House approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Warwick) and Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth) to eliminate the criminal charge for carrying one ounce or less of marijuana. Instead, the new law, if approved, would impose a civil penalty of a $150 fine, plus forfeiture of the drug. A third offense within 18 months of the previous offense would be treated as a misdemeanor. The legislation passed the House in a 50 to 24 vote and passed the Senate in a 28 to 6 vote. Each bill must now travel across the rotunda to pass the opposite chamber in order to become law. Under the provisions of the Senate and House bills (2012-S 2253Aaa, 2012-H 7092Aaa), offenders who …