As America comes a long way in legalizing marijuana as medicine, the struggle to legalize the drug for recreational purposes is also gaining momentum. A specially appointed legislative commission thus is in the process of looking at the prospective effects of legalizing recreational use of marijuana in Rhode Island. Rhode Island seems to be taking a cue from Massachusetts that has already approved the legalization of recreational marijuana to be implemented from November this year.
Why Rhode Island Wants to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
The Senator of the state, Joshua Miller (Democratic) has forwarded a sponsorship for such legislation in Rhode Island for a very practical reason. According to Miller, Rhode Island could end up missing in a lot of revenue that could be collected by way of taxes on marijuana for recreational uses. Seeing the trends from taxes on cannabis in Colorado, the tax trends are quite encouraging for the state. He suggested that the state would be at a lot of fiscal loss if the delay in legalization compels the residents of the state to buy marijuana from Massachusetts. This is why, he says, that he wishes to shape a new legislation that legalizes and taxes recreational marijuana. This legislation will be based on the findings of the specially appointed commission.
Miller himself heads the commission along with another Democratic representative, Dennis Canario. Canario, having served the Portsmouth police department for a long time before he retired, claims to have a lot of firsthand experience with what it is on the road for impaired drivers. He, thus expressed his intent to find out of the proposed legislation would hold any benefits from the state’s point of view.
Canario, at the same time, also opined that he doesn’t view the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts as pressure. As per him, it is important that the Rhode Island state to assess the cost of setting up a taxation system like the ones for cannabis in Colorado and Massachusetts before it can put it into action.
“Is there really a benefit to this besides giving the green light to someone to go out and get high? Are the positives going to outweigh the negatives? I don’t know,” Canario commented. “The commission is so important, to get the answers to these questions.”
The Example of Massachusetts in Legalizing Marijuana as Medicine and for Recreation
Since December last, Massachusetts, prior to the implementation of the recent legislation allowed growing and possession of marijuana. Adults in the states were allowed to possess up to one ounce of weed. Each person was allowed to grow as many as 6 plants (limited to 12 plants per household). However, it was illegal to sell pot except for marijuana as medicine.
Before the legislature could be implemented the state delayed the sales for 6 months. The laws were then revised to include terms of sales, a higher rate of taxes, and stricter rules. The same was done through a commission as is being done in Rhode Island now, for the aim of licensing pot shops as the new sales guidelines were to be issued.