RIPR News
8:16 am
Wed May 4, 2011

Watson out as minority leader

PROVIDENCE, RI – A week and a half after his arrest on marijuana charges in Connecticut, Robert Watson was replaced following 13 years as the House Republican leader.

During a closed caucus, Brian Newberry of North Smithfield was elected to replace Watson on a six-to-two margin. That's a change from the unanimous support Republicans offered Watson following his April 22nd arrest in East Haven.

Newberry says the caucus rethought the matter after Watson said he possessed a small amount of marijuana at the time of his arrest.

"I mean, the bottom line is, marijuana is illegal," says Newberry. "And whether it should be illegal or decriminalized, that's a whole separate story - but for now, it's not. And so it begs a host of questions and that was the problem."

Watson denies being under the influence of marijuana at the time of his arrest. Watson vows to remain at the State House and to continue as what he calls a loud voice of opposition.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@wrni.org.