Tag Archives: Rhode Island

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.

Rhode Island Legislators Announce Intent to End Marijuana Prohibition

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Sen. Josh Miller

Rhode Island Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Josh Miller and House Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Edith Ajello held a press conference today to announce that they will introduce a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol. The founder of Brown University’s Alcohol & Addiction Studies Center, a former Providence police officer, and other opinion leaders joined them to call for this more sensible approach. 

The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act is similar to the laws in Colorado and Washington. The proposal would allow individuals 21 and older to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana. It also directs the Department of Revenue to license and regulate marijuana producers and 10 retail marijuana stores. This sensible approach to marijuana would create new industries with new jobs and raise needed revenue for the state. It would also allow law enforcement focus on more serious crimes.

MPP and Regulate Rhode Island are working hard to ensure that this is the year Rhode Island ends its marijuana prohibition, but we need your help. If you are a Rhode Island resident, email your lawmakers and ask them to support this important legislation and then ask your friends and family in the Ocean State to do the same.

Finally, if you have experienced first-hand how problematic marijuana prohibition is, take a few moments to tell us your story.

Rhode Island Bill to Regulate Marijuana Coming Soon

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Rep. Edith Ajello

State Representative Edith Ajello (D – Providence) and state Senator Josh Miller (D –Cranston) are currently reaching out to their colleagues to ask them to sign on to their proposal to replace Rhode Island’s marijuana prohibition with a system that regulates marijuana for adults’ use. If you are a Rhode Island residentemail your state representative and senator today and ask them to sign on to this bill as a cosponsor!

The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act is similar to the laws that voters approved in Colorado and Washington in 2012. The proposal would allow individuals 21 and older to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana. It also directs the Department of Revenue to license and regulate marijuana producers and retail marijuana stores. This sensible approach to marijuana would create new industries with new jobs and raise needed revenue for the state. It would also allow law enforcement focus on more serious crimes.

Rhode Island Poll Finds Strong Support for Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Earlier today, MPP released a new poll finding that a clear majority of Rhode Islanders support “changing Rhode Island law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol.” Fifty-three percent of Rhode Island voters favor marijuana policies similar to those in Colorado, where adults 21 and over can purchase marijuana from regulated stores; only 41% oppose this policy change. If you are a Rhode Island resident, please take a brief moment to call both your state representative and your state senator and ask them to support ending marijuana prohibition in 2014.

Over the past couple of years, it’s become apparent that marijuana prohibition is coming to an end. It is no longer a question of if Rhode Island will legalize marijuana for adults and regulate it like alcohol, but when. Passing legislation this session will allow the state to begin creating hundreds of much-needed jobs and realizing tens of millions in annual tax revenue. With the state facing a $150 million budget hole and Rhode Island having the highest unemployment rate in the nation, let your lawmakers know now is the time to end marijuana prohibition in the Ocean State.

Time for Rhode Island to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

A guest column from MPP’s Mason Tvert appeared today in the Providence Journal in Rhode Island. An excerpt is below, and you can click here to read the entire piece.

Few social movements have advanced as far and as fast over the past decade as marriage equality and marijuana policy reform.

An October Gallup poll found a record-high 58 percent of Americans think it is time to make marijuana legal — a far cry from the 25 percent support when the same question was asked in 1995. In July, the pollster found a record-high 54 percent of Americans support recognizing same-sex marriage, up from just 27 percent in early 1996.

For both movements, increased public support has translated into legislative victories. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes since 1996, and two states, Colorado and Washington, adopted laws last November to regulate marijuana like alcohol. Sixteen states and our nation’s capital now recognize same-sex marriage, with Hawaii and Illinois becoming the 15th and 16th this month.

Rhode Island has made significant headway on both issues.

The General Assembly approved a limited form of domestic partnership in 2002. In 2006, it approved a limited form of marijuana legalization, allowing individuals with certain debilitating illnesses to use it for medical purposes if their doctors recommend it. Lawmakers authorized civil unions in 2011, and last year the state decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Despite marijuana policy reform leading in the polls nationwide, marriage equality beat it to the finish line in Rhode Island with this year’s passage of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, the legislature punted on a bill to create a regulated and taxed marijuana market for adults. Despite being sponsored by a bi-partisan coalition of 19 House and Senate members, it did not receive a vote and instead was “held for further study.”

Now that legislators are over the rainbow, it’s time to take advantage of the pot of gold.