We’re just over halfway through this year’s legislative session, and the fate of legalization remains uncertain. A clear majority of Rhode Islanders are ready to end the failed policy of prohibition, but lawmakers may not act unless they hear from their constituents. Help us move the issue forward and contact your state legislators.
Rhode Island will only dig itself into a deeper hole if the General Assembly fails to pass a legalization law this year. Multiple states around us are moving forward with marijuana policy reform legislation, and if Rhode Island becomes an island of prohibition, the state will lose out on an opportunity to gain a foothold in the fastest growing economic sector in the country.
Gov. Raimondo’s proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana could be improved in several ways, and as we advocate for passage of a legalization law this year, we must also urge the General Assembly to adopt amendments around medical marijuana patient access, competition and fairness within the market, and provisions to address the historical injustices of marijuana prohibition.
We need supporters of sensible marijuana policy to take action. Without a broad push for legalization, Rhode Island will continue spinning its wheels while Massachusetts, Connecticut, and other New England states move forward. We need progress this year, and you can help make it happen by sending a message to your state legislators right now.
Yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy and leaders in the legislature decided not to hold a vote on their marijuana legalization bill. It was determined that they did not have enough votes to pass the bill, and they chose to table the bill until they do.
While this is a disappointing setback, let's make sure it is only a temporary one. As Gov. Murphy said, "Justice may be delayed, but justice will not be denied."
If they don't support the bill, please consider reaching out further and asking for a meeting. If lawmakers don't hear from their constituents, they won't change their minds. If you are interested in setting up a meeting with your lawmaker, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can help facilitate that and arm you with the best resources in support of ending marijuana prohibition.
So please, email your lawmakers and then spread the word by forwarding this email to friends and family members.
Lt. Gov. Fetterman stopping at Penn State Fayette tonight at 6:00 p.m., other stops scheduled for Thursday and Saturday.
This week, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman will be hearing how voters feel about legalizing cannabis in Fayette, Somerset, McKean, and Elk Counties. At many of his previous listening tour stops, local lawmakers joined him as well. If you live in any of those counties, try to stop by to make your voice heard.
When crafting your comments, feel free to draw from our document on the Top 10 reasons to end marijuana prohibition or other materials. You may want to consider making a pitch for an inclusive, diverse industry, for allowing home cultivation, and for expunging past convictions.
Here are upcoming stops:
Lemont Furnace (Fayette County)
Tonight, Tuesday, March 5, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Penn State Fayette, Swimmer Hall
2201 University Drive
Boswell (Somerset County)
Thursday, March 7, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
North Star High School auditorium
400 Ohio Street
Kane (McKean County)
Saturday, March 9, noon to 1:30 p.m.
Kane Area Middle School auditorium
400 W. Hemlock Avenue
St. Mary's (Elk County)
Saturday, March 9, 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
St. Mary's Area High School
977 S. Saint Mary's Street
Consider arriving early: In some cases, crowds have been standing-room only.
This is a great opportunity to build momentum for commonsense, humane marijuana laws. Don't miss your chance to let your elected officials know it's time to stop branding Pennsylvanians criminals for a substance that's safer than alcohol. And please spread the word to help grow the chorus for reform.
Bringing legalization to the Midwest would be a game changer — support the YES on 1 campaign today
It’s incredible to see the progress we have made in recent years. Marijuana has been legalized for adults in nine states and Washington, D.C., and polls show two out of three Americans want to end the failed policy of prohibition.
But our opponents think they can stop our momentum — and they’re spending a lot of money to defeat Prop 1 in Michigan.
A win in Michigan would demonstrate the strength of our movement. But imagine the headlines if Prop 1 fails. Project SAM and their prohibitionist allies will claim that the tide is turning. Politicians in Congress would take note, and if they think voters are changing their mind, our reform efforts at the federal level could be jeopardized.
We have to prove the anti-legalization voices wrong. Make a donation to the YES on 1 campaign to help them fight back against their opposition’s fear tactics.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol produced a series of powerful ads. These TV and digital ads tell the truth about legalization, and they are the perfect antidote to the opposition’s demonstrably false attack ads. Your contribution will go directly towards helping the campaign share these messages with more Michigan voters.
There’s not much time left. Election Day is just a few days away. We can’t emphasize enough how important Prop 1 is for the future of our legalization movement. Please, get in the fight and support the campaign today.
The 2018 Rhode Island legislative session recently came to a disappointing close. By extending its unproductive marijuana study commission into next year and failing to expand the number of medical marijuana compassion centers, the General Assembly has once again ignored the overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders who support sensible marijuana policy reform.
If you are a Rhode Island resident...
The best way to make your voice heard now is to become active in local elections. When candidates hear from voters about an issue on the campaign trail, they’re far more likely to take action when elected.
If you see a campaign event happening in your district, attend and ask candidates if they will push for legislation to legalize marijuana. Make sure they know that your support for them depends, in part, on their support for ending the senseless policy of marijuana prohibition.
During the 2019 legislative session, MPP plans to launch a robust legalization effort in Rhode Island. Getting involved in local elections is the most effective way for you to help us lay the groundwork for victory next year.
Late last month, the Marijuana Policy Project commissioned Public Policy Polling to survey Rhode Island voter attitudes toward marijuana policy. The results are in, and the numbers indicate that Rhode Islanders from both sides of the aisle are clearly aware that marijuana prohibition is failed policy, and they are ready for change.
A majority of Rhode Islanders appear to be fed up with the current marijuana prohibition. Of the 714 voters polled, 52% would like to see all penalties for personal possession and use of marijuana removed and marijuana treated in a manner similar to alcohol, where it would be taxed, regulated, and sold in state-licensed stores to adults over the age of 21. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the idea received bipartisan support and was backed by 55% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans. Legislation spearheaded by MPP to establish such a system will be introduced in Rhode Island this session.
When Mason-Dixon Polling and Research asked the exact same question in 2008, only 41% of 625 voters surveyed supported regulated legalization of marijuana. That’s an increase of 11 percentage points among all voters in less than three years. The ’08 poll showed majority support among Democrats (52%) but strong opposition among Republican voters, with only 26% supporting and 66% opposing the idea just 33 months ago. This means we’ve seen support more than double among Rhode Island Republicans. So what’s going on here?
Although it may seem odd at first, I’ve long argued that replacing the marijuana prohibition with a legalized and regulated marijuana market is an issue perfectly teed up for true conservatives. Ending the marijuana prohibition, and to a greater extent the “War on Drugs,” would massively decrease the size and scope of the federal government and restore police power to the states. Massive federal programs that consume enormous amounts of tax dollars while failing to reduce use and abuse of marijuana would be dismantled, and the oft complained of “nanny state” – the government telling responsible adult citizens what they can and cannot do – would be whittled away at. But can this enormous increase in support for a regulated marijuana market among Rhode Island Republicans be attributed solely to the respondents tapping into their true conservative cores?
While the questions posed to voters were identical in 2008 and 2012, the polls were conducted by different firms. To see if this could be responsible for some of the increase, I reached out to Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling to get his take. “Automated polls [like the one conducted by PPP] tend to get more honest responses from people about sensitive issues than live interview [polls] like Mason-Dixon conducts. People might not be comfortable telling another human on the line that they think marijuana use should be legal, but they’re fine with pushing a button to express that same opinion.” So there is an argument that some of the increase in support was actually there all along, but it was quiet support. This kind of support may be stifled in part by voters’ reluctance to tell a live human being that they support something that could be perceived as taboo.
But I don’t think the live vs. automated distinction can account for the entire increase, and neither does Mr. Jensen. “I think with the tough economy and all the hard cuts state governments across the country have had to make over the last few years, voters are open to new ways to generate revenue, like legalizing and regulating marijuana use, in a way that they might not have been in more prosperous times.” Faced with the current economy, the typical American voter is given two options: cut popular and necessary programs or raise taxes. Neither of these options seems politically popular for members of either major party. So it shouldn’t be surprising to see people from both sides of the political spectrum supporting a proposal that would raise an untold amount of revenue while keeping intact support for current programs and not raising personal income taxes.
Regardless of the reasoning, it is clear that support for regulated legalization of marijuana is increasing and increasing fast. And this phenomenon is not limited to just Rhode Island.
In October of 2011, Gallup conducted their semi-annual “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” poll. They have been polling the American public on this question, off and on, since 1969. It is important to note that Gallup does not ask about a regulated market, just if marijuana should be legal. It’s also important to keep in mind that Gallup’s results are based on telephone interviews, so if Tom Jensen is correct, we’d expect that the actual support among the public is some degree higher than the results show. With that in mind, it’s incredibly telling that for the first time since 1969, Gallup found that 50% of the American public agrees that marijuana should be legal while 46% think it should remain illegal. Additionally, plurality support for a regulated and legalized market is found in both Colorado and Washington; both states will be voting on ballot measures asking if marijuana should be legalized and regulated come November.
Whatever the reasons may be, the public at large – and Rhode Island voters in particular – have come around to the idea of regulated legalization of marijuana, and why shouldn’t they? Marijuana is demonstrably safer than alcohol and tobacco – both of which are legal yet regulated. Responsible marijuana legalization and regulation will create entire industries worth of jobs, allow federal and state governments to collected needed revenue from responsible sales, and keep marijuana out of the hands of minors through thorough regulations. We’ve got the public behind us, it’s time the lawmakers open their eyes.
(NOTE: PPP also polled Rhode Island voter attitudes toward Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program and a proposal to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by replacing the criminal penalty with a civil citation. Both of these enjoyed very strong support. Click here for full poll results.)
A pair of Washington State legislators has submitted a bill to end the state’s prohibition on marijuana, similar to the one introduced by California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) back in February. The primary sponsor of the bill, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle) says she’s happy to start the conversation about ending marijuana prohibition to get the attention of Congress.
A bill more likely to pass is the decriminalization bill introduced earlier this year, which was recently endorsed by the Washington State Bar Association. The bill stalled last year without reaching a vote, but remains active in the upcoming 2010 session. Lets remain hopeful that Washington lawmakers do the right thing and stop throwing citizens in jail for using a substance less harmful than alcohol.