The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee will receive testimony Tuesday on H 7838, a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol, allowing adults 21 and older to purchase up to an ounce of marijuana from registered retailers.
Sponsored by Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Providence) and Rep. Rod Driver (D-Charlestown/Exeter/ Richmond) would prohibit advertising marijuana or using it in public places.
The bill would also create a $50 per ounce excise tax on all marijuana sold by wholesalers.
Revenue produced from the tax would go toward maintaining regulations, into the state General Fund, and also would be used to fund drug and alcohol abuse treatment and prevention programs.
A retired undercover narcotics detective will tell legislators that, based on his experiences as front-line solider in the “War On Drugs,” it is time to legalize marijuana.
|Photo: Digital Journal|
|Jack Cole, LEAP: “Only be legalizing and controlling marijuana sales… will we put an end to the cartel and gang violence fueled by illegal markets”|
”The Senate-appointed commission’s recommendation to decriminalize marijuana possession is a good first step because it frees resources and allows law enforcement to focus on preventing violent crime,” said Jack Cole, a retired New Jersey State Police undercover narcotics detective and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a pro-legalization police group.
“But only by legalizing and controlling marijuana sales, as the House bill being heard this week does, will we put an end to the cartel and gang violence fueled by illegal markets,” Cole said.
In Providence, Tuesday’s hearing on H 7838 comes less than a week after Sen. Josh Miller, chairman of the Senate-appointed marijuana commission, introduced a bill to decriminalize possession. A similar possession decriminalization bill in the House garnered 35 original co-sponsors.
Late last month, the Providence Journal published an editorial urging the legalization of all drugs in the wake of recent Mexican cartel attacks on American citizens.
Under legalization, the paper wrote, “Crime would drop in our streets as dealers lose their livelihood, and users don’t have to rob others to support their habit. Governments can regulate the drugs for purity and collect taxes on their sale.”
“The War On Drugs is futilely repeated year after year after year,” the editorial board went on to write. “Let’s stop the insanity. Legalize these illicit drugs and treat their abuse as the medical problem it is. The taxes levied on them will help pay for treatment.”
WHAT: Hearing for H 7838, a bill to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Rhode Island
WHO: Rep. Edith Ajello, the bill’s sponsor, will testify, along with others
WHERE: House Lounge, Providence, R.I.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 13, Rise of the House
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate cannabis in a way similar to alcohol.
For more information, visit MPP at www.mpp.org.