Regulate Rhode Island gave a presentation to South Kingstown’s town council. They advocate for the repeal of marijuana prohibition. The group is pushing for a properly regulated and taxed system allowing for the adult use of marijuana.
Senator Josh Miller and Representative Scott Slater sponsor new legislation to decriminalize possession of marijuana, according to Rhode Island Central. One plant per person or three per household would be permitted under the new legislation. Penalties for personal possession of marijuana would be removed.
Regulate Rhode Island director Jared Moffat said, “The reason I wanted to reach out to you is to discuss the legislation that’s been proposed. We certainly want to involve the towns and local governments in this process.”
Within the legislation, as written, a central office would be created within the state government to oversee regulations.
Moffat also said, “Local towns do have significant control over the operations of these establishments. As long as any ordinance or rule that a body, like yours, designed is not in conflict with the state law, there’d be nothing to prohibit you from imposing thing like operation hours, additional punishments for violations – for instance, if underage selling is going on at an establishment.”
If legislation passes, marijuana sales would be taxed at a rate of 23-percent including the required 7-percent sales tax. The taxes collected would first pay for the cost of regulation. The leftover funds would allow for 50-percent to go to the state’s general fund, 35-percent to substance abuse recovery services and 10-percent to municipalities allowing marijuana businesses.
Moffat said, “Our motivation is not to promote marijuana use at all – that’s not what our coalition is really about. But under our current policy of marijuana prohibition, it’s very clear that we’re not preventing anyone from using marijuana, if they want to – and that’s, unfortunately, very true for teenagers, as well.”
Rhode Island will take a little different approach than other New England states.
Moffat said, “There have been concerns [about home cultivation]. The unregulated nature of it, the lack of oversight I think is concerning to many, and we certainly understand that, and that’s why we thought a lower plant count, unlike Massachusetts [six plants are permitted per person, 12 per household], was appropriate.”