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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Regulate Rhode Island will hold a large rally at the State House in Providence on Tuesday, May 16, to demand the Speaker of the House and the Senate President allow a vote on marijuana legalization legislation before the session ends in a few weeks.

Hundreds of supporters are expected to attend the event, which will begin at 4:30 p.m. ET and end at 6:30 p.m. ET. A short speaking program is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET on the mall-side steps of the State House.

Speakers will include S. 0420 sponsor Sen. Josh Miller, H. 5555 sponsor Rep. Scott Slater, the president of the Providence branch of the NAACP, and a former Providence police officer, among others.

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Rep. Scott Slater:
“When three out of five Rhode Islanders support a reform, the legislature should hold a vote”
[Providence Journal]

“Several other New England states are already moving forward, and polls consistently show that a majority of our constituents believe our current policy of marijuana prohibition has failed,” Slater said. “When three out of five Rhode Islanders support a reform, the legislature should hold a vote.”

If House and Senate leaders do not call for a vote in coming weeks, it would be the seventh year in a row that lawmakers considered such legislation but failed to hold a vote at the committee level or on the floor of either chamber.

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Matthew Schweich, Marijuana Policy Project:
“This is bigger than just marijuana”
[MPP]

“This is bigger than just marijuana,” said Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project, who will also be speaking at the rally. “It’s a question of how Rhode Island makes public policy decisions. It should not be the case that legislation only receives a vote if legislative leadership has approved the pre-determined result. After many years of debate, Rhode Islanders deserve to know where their legislators stand on this issue. It’s time for a vote.”

WHAT: Rally to call for a vote on marijuana legalization in the General Assembly

WHEN: TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 16, 4:30 p.m. ET (speakers begin at 5 p.m. ET)

WHERE: Mall-side steps of the State House, 82 Smith Street, Providence

WHO: Sen. Joshua Miller, sponsor of S 0420

Rep. Scott Slater, sponsor of H 5555

Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project

Jared Moffat, director of Regulate Rhode Island

James Vincent, president of the Providence branch of the NAACP, co-chair of Regulate Rhode Island

JoAnne Leppanen, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition

Elizabeth Comery, JD, former Providence patrol officer

# # #

Regulate Rhode Island is a coalition of community leaders, organizations, and residents committed to ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. Member organizations include the Rhode Island NAACP, Rhode Island ACLU, Rhode Island Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Rhode Island Working Families, Rhode Island Sierra Club, Rhode Island Young Democrats, Clergy for a New Drug Policy, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and the Marijuana Policy Project, among others. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateRI.com.

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