Supporters of legalizing the retail sale of marijuana to adults will make their case at the statehouse Tuesday. It’s not the first time lawmakers have attempted to decriminalize pot.
For several years running, proponents of regulating marijuana like alcohol and taxing it have tried to pass their legislation in Rhode Island. But this year, the bill’s sponsors can point to the experiences of Colorado and Washington, which recently legalized marijuana. The bill lays out provisions for regulating the sale of marijuana in retail outlets to buyers 21 and older. It sets up a schedule of registration fees and taxes for those retailers and their sales. And it allows for retailers to grow their own marijuana. Medical marijuana suppliers would be the first allowed to register as retailers. Sponsors say years of prosecuting marijuana-related crimes have yielded few benefits, and that legalizing the drug would bring the trade out of the shadows. Opponents of legalizing marijuana say the drug is addictive and dangerous. The Senate judiciary committee is scheduled to consider it.
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