RI Looks at Legalizing Pot for Recreational Use
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RI Looks at Legalizing Pot for Recreational Use
Posted by CN Staff on March 16, 2011 at 16:42:31 PT
By The  Associated Press
Source: Associated Press 
Providence, R.I. -- Rhode Island would become the first U.S. state to legalize marijuana for recreational use under legislation that would replace criminal penalties for possession with alcohol-style regulation and taxes on America's most widely used illicit drug.The proposal would lift the ban on possessing marijuana for anyone over the age of 21. It would still be illegal to smoke it publicly, or while driving a vehicle. Cash-strapped Rhode Island, which legalized medical marijuana in 2006, would stand to make tens of millions of dollars off the deal.
The legislation would allow individuals to grow up to three marijuana plants, but only if they've paid $100 per plant. Wholesalers would have to pay a $50-per-ounce excise tax, retail licenses would cost $5,000 annually, and all retail marijuana sales would be subject to sales taxes."It would do wonders to improve our budget situation," said Rep. Edith Ajello, D-Providence, one of five lawmakers sponsoring the bill.Retired police officers and several Rhode Island residents told lawmakers that the long-standing prohibitions on pot fail to reduce its availability. Tight government regulation and taxes, they said, would recognize that pot is here to stay -- and raise some revenue in the process."This will allow police to return to tracking down violent criminals," said Jack Cole, a retired narcotics detective from New Jersey and a leader of a group of retired law enforcement officers who support legalization. "Prohibition has not worked."But many lawmakers say the state's medical marijuana law is too new to consider legalizing the drug for everyone. Rep. John Carnevale, D-Providence, said the state needs to proceed carefully. Carnevale served 22 years as a Providence police officer, including three in the narcotics division."People say it's no worse than alcohol," Carnevale said. "Think about the problems we already have with alcohol. Why would we add another drug? What do we do the next time there's a downturn -- do we say 'OK, how much can we make on cocaine?'"Some lawmakers would stop short of legalization and instead relax the penalties for marijuana possession. One legislative proposal would replace criminal fines and jail time with a $150 civil fine.The debate is the latest example of how states throughout New England and the rest of the country are re-examining marijuana and its role as medicine, recreational drug and revenue generator. More than a dozen states now make marijuana a civil violation rather than a criminal offense. California voters last fall defeated a measure to legalize marijuana.Rhode Island is one of 15 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. On Tuesday state health officials announced three authorized medical marijuana dispensaries. The dispensaries aren't even open and yet Gov. Lincoln Chafee has already suggested imposing taxes on them."Our war on drugs has not been successful on marijuana," Ajello said. "We are moving toward accepting it."Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published: March 16, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on March 17, 2011 at 15:03:50 PT
"Fees instead of fines..."
and paying them to not target, arrest, humiliate, or kill. It's about dynamic entries, and forfeitures, and seizures. It's about "Permanent records" and "Personal histories" and not being saddled with criminal accusations and convictions. It's about people being put in "cages" built for people dangerous enough to be held... in cages... by authorities. If you prohibitionists are so "offended" by people's use of cannabis, you are offensively easily offended. You are dangerously easily offended."Another legal drug"? No it's not about the United States "getting to have", or being "allowed" another legal drug, or who is allowed and who isn't, and yes... it's already prevalent, allowed or not. It has to be made legal to stop the injustice and all the ills directly associated with prohibition of a popular product. It has to be made legal to stop the insanities of prohibitionists over people's use of this plant. It's not about "another legal drug"... it's about stopping injustice.That's "Why"!*sigh*That "Another legal drug" is nothing but a cunningly devised diversion on the part of prohibitionists.Aaaargh.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on March 17, 2011 at 09:56:50 PT
I agree.
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on March 17, 2011 at 08:41:50 PT
Can they not see the problem with this???
So, I can pay $300 to grow 3 plants that may all turn out to be male plants?
If, I'm somehow incredibly lucky, there will be 3 female plants that I can tend for the next 3-4 months, and if nothing else goes wrong, I may harvest an ounce...maybe 2 from each female plant?So, how does this stop the black market for marijuana? Just buying it on the street is much easier and much cheaper when considering one's time. And, I wouldn't have to pay the fees, registrations, licenses or excise tax and am less likely to end up on some government 'list'.This plan would be a very efficient way to build a black market for any type of produce.
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Comment #4 posted by NikoKun on March 17, 2011 at 03:14:21 PT
"Think about the problems we already have with alcohol. Why would we add another drug?"
Because we wouldn't be "adding another drug". Pot already exists, it's already out there, as popular as ever, and that's not going to change, more or less, regardless of the laws. Overall use rates aren't going to increase or decrease much at all, because use-rates are based on the individuals, not the legal status.
Besides, prohibition certainly isn't helping. In fact, it's making the situation FAR worse. Certainly a lot worse than the issue needs to be.
Prohibition keeps it in an unregulated market, often with ties to people who are willing to operate outside the law. This fact isn't good for anyone except the bad-guys. So prohibition is in fact counterproductive towards it's own goals.
Legalization is the only sane solution, simply because that allows us to add some regulations, some safety measures, and remove the criminal elements from the picture. After all, when you have a legally protected market, the black-market wont be able to compete for long.
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Comment #3 posted by Paul Pot on March 16, 2011 at 23:34:02 PT:
Legal means legal.
This is not legalization this is decriminalization. Legal means legal, like you can do what you want. Fees are no different to fines and they are discriminatory. Should we pay fees for growing tomatoes? Legalize all drugs so that people can grow and produce alcohol, tobacco and pot and opium for smoking and sell them down at the local market. Then pay tax on the profits only. Anything else is pure fascism.
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on March 16, 2011 at 17:05:03 PT
charge less and sell more. 
I’m glad they are thinking of “legalizing” it, but they are making up so many fees that it will be cheaper to get it the old fashion way. But there will be an official legal market. So I guess that is a step forward.  Instead of charging more and selling less, charge less and sell more. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 16, 2011 at 16:45:43 PT
Who Dreams Up This Stuff?
It is so complicated and unworkable. The only way is to legalize cannabis and let people grow their own like people brew their own beer. 
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