Ask your lawmakers to replace marijuana prohibition with sensible, equitable regulation.
Today is the opening day of the Connecticut General Assembly. While last year’s efforts to end marijuana prohibition fell short, 2020 promises to be our best chance yet.
During Gov. Ned Lamont’s State of the State address this afternoon, he remarked, “We just marked the 100th anniversary of prohibition. How did that work out?”
He called for a coordinated regional approach to marijuana regulation to protect public heath and to “right the wrongs of a war on drugs that has disproportionately impacted our minority communities.” His budget includes new staff to prepare for legal sales in 2022.
Senate Democrats included legalization in their list of 2020 priorities, with Senate President Martin Looney saying, “We know there are very large numbers of Connecticut residents already traveling regularly to Massachusetts to buy this product... I don’t think we want to put our heads in the sand.”
Meanwhile, a recent poll found 65% of Connecticuters support legalization.
We’re ramping up our campaign. The Marijuana Policy Project hired attorney DeVaughn Ward, who will serve as co-chair of the coalition. During his years practicing law at his Hartford-based firm, he routinely represented clients who had their constitutional rights violated. Last year, DeVaughn was recognized as one of the “New Leaders in The Law” by the Connecticut Law Tribune.
But we can’t pass legalization without your support. Please write to your lawmakers today.
We also need your help to volunteer, write letters to the editor, and show up at the capitol at critical moments in the coming weeks. Please follow this link to sign up today!
We will be in touch soon to keep you in the loop on what’s happening at the capitol. This is our moment, and we need you now more than ever!
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.
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.
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 resident, email 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.
Earlier this week, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) signed two bills that will regulate the state’s booming medical marijuana industry and bring definitive legal status to about half of Colorado’s estimated 1,100 dispensaries.
The new law will make Colorado home to the largest number of state-licensed dispensaries anywhere in the United States. A state-regulated medical marijuana program is up and running in New Mexico and similar programs will soon be operational in Rhode Island, Maine, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. — but the number of sanctioned dispensaries to be allowed in each of those states is fewer than 10. Colorado’s law will authorize hundreds, and potentially more if future demand increases.
The Centennial State now has the opportunity to set a national example for how to oversee and regulate a large, orderly, and well-functioning medical marijuana industry. And while the country keeps its eye on California to see if that state’s voters decide to lift marijuana prohibition entirely this November, Colorado seems increasingly poised to take that next crucial step as well. A Rasmussen telephone poll released May 15 showed that 49 percent of likely Colorado voters support taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol, with an additional 13 percent still undecided.