|Tyler Drumm/The New Maine Times|
At least four state legislatures will consider replacing marijuana prohibition with regulation
On Election Day, voters in the states of Colorado and Washington approved ballot initiatives to remove criminal penalties for adult marijuana use and regulate the substance in a manner similar to alcohol. State legislators from Rhode Island and Maine on Thursday will join the Marijuana Policy Project on a teleconference press call to announce that they are introducing similar bills to tax and regulate marijuana in their state legislatures.
|Joining in on the call will be Maine Rep. Diane Russell (D-District 120, Portland)|
Joining on the call will be Rhode Island Rep. Edith Ajello (D-District 3, Providence) and Maine Rep. Diane Russell (D-District 120, Portland). Both of these lawmakers have supported marijuana reform legislation in previous sessions. The Rhode Island Legislature passed medical marijuana legislation earlier this year.
Robert Capecchi, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, will be introducing the representatives and moderating the call. In addition to Rhode Island and Maine, similar proposals will be submitted in at least two other states -- Vermont and Massachusetts.
"Last week, Washington and Colorado replaced their states' prohibitions on marijuana with a system of regulation and taxation," Capecchi said. "Both measures passed with roughly 55 percent voting in favor.
"Gallup found 50 percent support for making marijuana legal last year, and that support has risen over the years," Capecchi said. "We are passing the tipping point when it comes to this issue.
"Unfortunately, lawmakers have traditionally been behind public opinion when it comes to marijuana policy reform," Capecchi said. "With these thoughtful legislators in at least four states planning on introducing sensible proposals to remove criminal penalties and regulate marijuana in their states, it's clear that ending marijuana prohibition is gaining momentum."