The New England Area Conference of the NAACP, comprising chapters in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, is supporting legislation to legalize marijuana here and regulate it like alcohol.

A bill is making its way through Rhode Island's General Assembly that would legalize marijuana and regulate and tax it like alcohol. Possessing small amounts has already been decriminalized here. And interest has been growing in legalization for a while.

Proponents say that legalizing the drug would keep harmless people out of jail. Opponents say marijuana is just as dangerous as any other drug and should remain illegal.

The arguments are heating up.

Barrington police are investigating an unusual drug case. On Sunday, someone left a bag of marijuana outside the Carmelite Monastery in Barrington.

Around 2:30pm Sunday a sister at the Carmelite Monastery in Barrington saw a person drop a package underneath a bush near the parking lot.  The sisters went out to investigate and were surprised to find the bag contained what appeared to be marijuana. 

Catherine Welch / RIPR

A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union shows blacks are much more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, even though national studies show both races use the drug at roughly similar rates. The study calls for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

To recommend, or not to recommend, medicinal marijuana? That's the question recently posed in a New England Journal of Medicine interactive online poll. To get a feel for physicians' opinions, NEJM presented readers with a fictional clinical situation. Here's the scenario:

Friday is the first day of business for the first medical marijuana compassion center in Rhode Island.

There was a line out the door of the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence, on opening day for the first medical marijuana dispensary here in Rhode Island.  The 1,600 square foot building houses cultivation and processing facilities as well as the center itself.

Despite state approval for the center, the federal government still classifies marijuana as illegal, said Chris Reilly, a spokesperson for the center.

A state law decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana takes effect today. But support for the new law is mixed.

There's lots going on, legislatively speaking, in the world of addiction and especially marijuana (including the fake kind). At stake: whether marijuana will be legalized (it's already approved for medical use in the state) and whether fake marijuana will be banned.

In Rhode Island, medical marijuana is already legal, through people who are so-called “caregivers” selling to patients. The state has established three “compassion centers” that haven’t opened yet. In Massachusetts, regulators are still considering how to implement the law. Doctors there want tighter controls.

Photo by: Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State lawmakers are trying once again to legalize marijuana. More on the proposal to regulate and tax the drug.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Feb 6, 2013

A proposal to legalize recreational marijuana and then tax it. Newport becomes a stop on an around-the-world sailing race.  These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.

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