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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Report Warns Against Further Delays

A coalition of organizations and community leaders on Tuesday released a report that makes the case for legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana this year in Rhode Island. The report also warns against further delaying the passage of such legislation.

State lawmakers who are sponsoring bills to end marijuana prohibition joined several members of the Regulate Rhode Island coalition in Room 101 of the State House for a Tuesday news conference to discuss the report. Six coalition members — including public health experts, social justice advocates, and legal professionals — each provided their unique perspective on why now is the time for the state to legalize and regulate marijuana.

jared moffat regulate rhode island
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Jared Moffat, Regulate Rhode Island:
“This report builds a rock solid case for legalizing and regulating marijuana in 2017”
[Edwin A.M. / YouTube]

“This report builds a rock solid case for legalizing and regulating marijuana in 2017,” said Jared Moffat, director of Regulate Rhode Island. “Given some of the misleading and inaccurate assertions we have heard from opponents of regulation, it is important that we provide lawmakers and the public well-sourced data and evidence about what is happening in other states.”

Three out of five voters in the state support the legalization of recreational marijuana, according to February poll commissioned by Regulate Rhode Island, reports Jennifer Bogdan at the Providence Journal

‘Pragmatic Choice’

The report concludes that legalizing and regulating marijuana in 2017 is the “pragmatic choice.” It notes that retail cannabis stores will likely open in 2018 in Massachusetts cities just across the border, such as Attleboro and Fall River. It also highlights data that shows regulating marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington is having positive effects and not resulting in many of the negative effects that opponents predicted.

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Sen. Joshua Miller:
“Regulating marijuana is the smart and responsible policy from a public health and safety perspective”
[Senator Joshua Miller]

“Regulating marijuana is the smart and responsible policy from a public health and safety perspective,” said Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Cranston), who is sponsoring S 0420. “It is also the smart and responsible policy from an economic and fiscal perspective. If we do not pass legislation this year, we will be sending millions in tax revenue to our neighbor while that money could have been put to good use here our state.”

The report covers a wide range of topics including the economic impact of legal marijuana in other states, recent data on teen marijuana use rates, and marijuana arrest statistics for the state.

“Economic and fiscal considerations alone do not provide sufficient reason to adopt a new policy,” said Moffat. “Other states are demonstrating that regulation works and experiencing the benefits of regulating a popular product that was previously uncontrolled in the underground market.

“Adopting legislation this year would make Rhode Island safer and boost our economy at the same time,” Moffat said. “Now is the time to move forward.”

The report, titled “Now is the time,” is available online at http://regulateri.com/report.

About Regulate Rhode Island

Regulate Rhode Island is a coalition of community leaders, organizations, and residents committed to ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. The goal is to replace prohibition 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 Against Prohibition, and the Marijuana Policy Project, among others.

For more information, visit http://www.RegulateRI.com.

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