Rhode Island ReportShows Taxing Marijuana Could Generate Tens of Millions in Revenue

A report released yesterday by Rhode Island-based OpenDoors estimates that passage of the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act will generate between $21.5 to $82 million in annual tax revenue. Although it would not completely solve Rhode Island’s budget woes, revenue from legal sales of marijuana to adults could help ease the financial burdens the state is facing.
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Every day across Rhode Island, otherwise law-abiding men and women purchase and consume marijuana illegally. Proceeds from these sales go untaxed and only serve to enrich criminal actors. Bringing adult marijuana sales above board allows the state to tax both wholesale and retail marijuana transactions and provides much greater transparency over who sells it, where, and to whom. 

In addition to the generating revenue, passage of the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act will create hundreds of jobs in an emerging industry.

Maryland Decriminalization Bill Headed to Governor

After being approved by the General Assembly on Saturday, a bill that would replace current penalties for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana with a fine passed the Maryland Senate. The bill will now go to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has indicated he will sign the bill into law. This would make Maryland the 18th state to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana. 

Watch MPP’s Rachelle Yeung talk about this major victory:

Maryland House Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana in Surprise Turnaround

On Saturday, the Maryland House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved an amended version of the decriminalization bill. In a 78-55 vote, the House approved imposing civil fines — not criminal penalties and possible jail time — on those possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana.

The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence, before heading to Gov. Martin O’Malley. Gov. O’Malley has previously said he’s “not much in favor” of decriminalization.

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Del. Keiffer Mitchell

Saturday’s vote was the product of lots of hard work from MPP and our allies, both in the legislature and outside of it. Just a few days ago, the House Judiciary Committee gutted the decriminalization bill and replaced it with a task force that wouldn’t report back for two years. Thanks to the leadership from the Legislative Black Caucus and Del. Keiffer Mitchell, we were able to turn the tide. Many thanks to all of our supporters who emailed and called their delegates.

But our work on this long overdue reform is not done. Don’t forget to make sure you’re plugged in to our efforts by liking the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland on Facebook and following the coalition on Twitter.

Maryland House Judiciary Committee Kills Decriminalization Bills

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee neutered two marijuana policy reform bills. Instead of considering the proposed policies on their merits, the committee completely amended the content of the bills to create a task force to study the issues. The two bills, SB 364 and HB 880, formerly would have respectively decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana and regulated marijuana similarly to alcohol.

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Rep. Bobby Zirkin

The decriminalization bill, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Zirkin, has passed the Senate two years in a row with overwhelming bipartisan support — most recently, last month, in a 36-8 vote.

The Committee acted two days after D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed into law the most lenient decriminalization law in the country, and the same day as a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 76% of Americans don’t think people should be jailed for simple possession.

 

Pew Poll Shows Increased Support for Making Marijuana Legal

A poll released yesterday by the Pew Research Centerpew showed that for the second year in a row a majority of Americans (54%) support making marijuana legal. This represents a two percent increase in support from last year. Only 42% support keeping marijuana illegal. Three-quarters of those polled think that the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide.

The poll also revealed that 69% of respondents see alcohol as more harmful to individual health than marijuana, and 63% think alcohol is more dangerous to society.

Pew’s nationwide survey of 1,821 adults was conducted February 14-23. Detailed survey results are available at .

Marijuana Policy Project