One of my predictions for 2017 was that a state would legalize marijuana via legislative action. To be fair, I have predicted that every year since 2013. But 2017 seems to be more likely than any other year, if for any reason because there are now 8 states (and Washington D.C.) that already have legalization on the books. I would think that at least one state legislature would want to get out in front of legalization instead of sitting around and watching other states experience the benefits that come with legalization.
The top state on my list of most likely to legalize via legislative action is Rhode Island. Rhode Island has debated legalization for a handful of years now, and with Massachusetts set to implement legalized adult-use sales as early as next summer, it was obvious that the debate to bring legalization to Rhode Island would be ramped up this year. Yesterday a public hearing was held in which legalization was debated at Rhode Island’s Legislature.
It sounds like the hearing lasted 4 hours, and that passion was running high on both sides (no pun intended). As expected, law enforcement was out and spreading reefer madness as much as possible. Members of law enforcement brought up examples of criminal cases in which at least one flake of marijuana was present at the scene of the crime. That was then spun into an attempt to try to blame marijuana for all of it. ”The only question is how much more money in taxes does Rhode Island need to collect to justify the devastation that will follow?” said one police chief.
I have to ask, what ‘devastation’ is the chief referring to? I live in Oregon, where we legalized in 2014, and I have yet to see any devastation occur. The same goes for Washington, Colorado, and Alaska who have also implemented legalization, including legal cannabis sales. Legalization would be good for Rhode Island, if for any reason because law enforcement would be able to dedicate more of its limited resources towards fighting real crime in Rhode Island, instead of spending an enormous amount of resources fighting to enforce a failed, racist policy.
SEIU, one of the top labor unions in the country, expressed support for legalization at the hearing, as did the head of a Baptist church. Project S.A.M. offered up their two cents (street value = pocket lint), which basically amounted to the unfounded claim that ‘social costs’ will outweigh any benefit that comes with legalization. The organization made the same argument in every other state that pushed for legalization, just to see history prove them wrong. Hopefully legalization moves forward in Rhode Island. If you live in Rhode Island, you should absolutely be calling your legislators. You can find their contact information at this link here.