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Marijuana: Rhode Island Legislative Commission Endorses Decriminalization

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #624)
Drug War Issues

prohibitionist RI governor Donald Carcieri
A special Rhode Island legislative commission created to review and assess marijuana policy has endorsed decriminalizing the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The decision came Tuesday, when the Special Senate Panel on Marijuana Prohibition endorsed a report calling for decriminalization.

Led by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Cranston), the panel concluded in the report that "marijuana law reform" could save the state valuable funds by ending "costly arrests and incarcerations due to simple possession of marijuana." Estimates of the savings ranged from $232,000 to $12.7 million.

Under current Rhode Island law, possession of less than an ounce is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. Although few people are actually jailed for simple possession in Rhode Island, some 399 have been since 2007, and have served an average of 3 1/2 months. Also, the consequences of even a misdemeanor criminal conviction can have an adverse impact on people for years.

The panel voted to approve the proposal by a vote of 11-2. The no votes came from law enforcement representatives, who warned that marijuana was "dangerous."

The report and its recommendations now go before the full Senate.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Jean Boyd (not verified)

Oh thank God for a laugh...I mean the no votes coming from law enforcement "representatives". Yeah, Rhode Island! Thank you for the breath of fresh air. These prohibitionist cops are on automatic like rabid dogs. God, they just don't want to quit.
Talking about criminal convictions having an "adverse" effect on ruins their lives. I am out gathering signatures for the WA state legalize marijuana initiative and I can't believe how many people tell me they want to sign but they are not voters because that "right" has been taken away. You have to be a voter to sign. So, we lose all those signatures of people who truly have a reason to see 'legalization'...what I call now "a return to sanity".

Fri, 03/19/2010 - 4:49pm Permalink
newageblues (not verified)

and give us their dead sober comparison of alcohol vs.cannabis. Cannabis is "dangerous" - compared to what? Not compared to it's competition alcohol. Level that playing field, it's the American way!

Jean Boyd, what you are reporting is infuriating. Taking away someone's right to vote because of a cannabis or other substance related (alcohol supremacist related) "conviction" and then saying they can't vote on whether cannabis should be legal. Nice little hatchet job there on democracy, Washington State.

Sat, 03/20/2010 - 2:22am Permalink
Jean Boyd (not verified)

In reply to by newageblues (not verified)

I am wrong. In May, Washington passed a law that states that you can vote if you have a conviction. There are so many changes to the law, it is sometimes hard for me to remember all of them. It was that way for a long time.
But please, I am sorry you are mis-understanding me. We are gathering signatures to put 'legalize marijuana' on our November ballot so voters can decide. The decision will not come through these signatures.
I also carry with me voter registrations for people who are presently not registered to vote.
And I am being sure to inform people that they can vote now, even though they have convictions. I mean, you would not believe how many people told me that they could not vote. It was so sad. Hope I see them again to let them know the new law. But getting tired of this crap, honestly.

Sun, 03/21/2010 - 8:59pm Permalink
JD Tenma (not verified)

It seems to me that those who day that it is "dangerous" are saying so because that is what they have been taught, and that is the generally accepted thought about marijuana. I have done much research about this subject, and I have come to the conclusion that it is not any more dangerous than alcohol. Not being a user of marijuana, I look at possible legalization as having one main benefit: Money. If no more taxpayer money is spent on "costly arrests and incarcerations due to simple possession of marijuana", then we (the taxpayers of RI) may be looking at lower taxes, and possible getting out of debt or at least decreasing the state's deficits.

Just my $0.02.

Tue, 03/23/2010 - 9:24pm Permalink
AnandamideSoldier (not verified)

Water has a higher mortality rate than cannabis, related to consumption. You can over-hydrate yourself by drinking too much water, and die. Toxicity levels for Alcohol are 1:4 to 1:10, meaning as much as it takes you to get intoxicated, 4-10 times that amount will kill you. Cannabis toxicity levels are 1:25,000 to 1:50,000. This means it is physically impossible to consume a toxic dose of cannabis. Legalization would destroy the illegal immigrant drug trade (who wants to buy Mexican brick when someone you know undoubtedly grows primo stuff legally?), it will inject millions, possibly BILLIONS of dollars into the economy, through taxation, relief of law enforcement resources, and industrial hemp (which is still used to make ship-rigging rope for the US Military because of its undeniable strength and durability). The benefits will not be fully realized until years, even decades after legalization happens, so why not get the ball rolling now?
And yes, I do use cannabis, for medical reasons.

Tue, 04/06/2010 - 11:54am Permalink

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