Rhode Island Lawmakers Consider Legalizing Pot
The Ocean State could soon be awash with weed if the state legislature follows Colorado and Washington's lead in taxing and regulating marijuana.
Rhode Island is on track to becoming the third state in the union after Colorado and Washington to legalize recreational marijuana for people 21 and older.
The proposed bill, the Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act was introduced on Wednesday by state Sen. Joshua Miller (D-28) and state Rep. Edith Ajello (D-1). Having already legalized medical marijuana in 2006 and decriminalized up to one ounce of pot in 2013, Rhode Island now appears ready to take the next step.
"Marijuana prohibition has been a long-term failure," said Miller. "Forcing marijuana into the underground market ensures authorities have no control of the product. Regulating marijuana would allow the product to be sold safely and responsibly by legitimate businesses in appropriate locations."
The act would allow possession of marijuana up to one ounce and allow each person to grow up to two plants "in an enclosed, locked space." Wholesale marijuana will have an excise tax of up to $50 per ounce and a 10 percent state sales tax.
"Regulation allows us to create barriers to teen access, such as ID checks and serious penalties for selling to those under 21," Ajello said. "Taxing marijuana sales will generate tens of millions of dollars in much-needed tax revenue for the state."
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