New Report Makes The Case For Legalizing, Regulating, And Taxing Marijuana In Rhode Island

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TODAY at 12:30 p.m. ET, state lawmakers and community leaders will join Regulate Rhode Island at a news conference in the State House to discuss the coalition’s report — available online at http://regulateri.com/report — and explain why ‘now is the time’ for Rhode Island to end marijuana prohibition
     
* Photo opportunity: Copies of the report will be distributed and the cover will be featured on a large sign *

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A coalition of organizations and community leaders released a report Tuesday that makes the case for legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana this year in Rhode Island and warn against further delaying the passage of such legislation. The report, titled “Now is the time,” is available online at http://regulateri.com/report.

At 12:30 p.m. ET, state lawmakers who are sponsoring bills to end marijuana prohibition in Rhode Island will join several members of the Regulate Rhode Island coalition in Room 101 of the State House for a news conference to discuss the report. Six coalition members — including public health experts, social justice advocates, and legal professionals — will each provide their unique perspective on why now is the time for Rhode Island to legalize and regulate marijuana.

“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.”

The report concludes that legalizing and regulating marijuana in 2017 is the “pragmatic choice” for Rhode Island, noting that retail marijuana 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.

“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 Rhode Island.

“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. Now is the time to move forward.”

WHAT: News conference to discuss Regulate Rhode Island’s new report, “Now is the time: Why Rhode Island should legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in 2017”

WHEN: TODAY, Tuesday, March 21, 12:30 p.m. ET

WHERE: Rhode Island State House, Room 101, 82 Smith St., Providence

WHO: Sen. Joshua Miller, sponsor of S 0420

Sen. Jeanine Calkin, co-sponsor of S 0420

Rep. Scott Slater, sponsor of H 5555

Rep. Edith Ajello, co-sponsor of H 5555

James Vincent, Regulate RI co-chair and president of NAACP Providence Branch

Dr. James Crowley, Regulate RI co-chair and past president of the Rhode Island Medical Society

Andrew Horwitz, Regulate RI co-chair and assistant dean of the Roger Williams University School of Law

Michelle McKenzie, public health researcher and addiction recovery advocate

Elizabeth Comery, former Providence police officer

Kathryn Duckworth, president of the Brown University chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Michael Beauregard, president of the Young Democrats of Rhode Island

Steve Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island ACLU

Jared Moffat, director of Regulate Rhode Island

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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 Against Prohibition, and the Marijuana Policy Project, among others. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateRI.com.

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