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Legalizing Weed: 7 Quotes From Lawmakers After Pot Became Decriminalized in Rhode Island

By    |   Tuesday, 19 May 2015 04:33 PM

In 2012, the state of Rhode Island joined ranks with many others across the nation and decriminalized pot. Under the new law, jail time has been replaced with fines of up to $150 for carrying up to one ounce of weed.

Rhode Island’s weed law went into effect in April 2013 making possession a civil infraction rather than a crime. According to Norml, Rhode Island’s weed law went into effect in April 2013 making possession a civil infraction rather than a crime.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have voiced their concerns about where decriminalization will take their state.

Urgent: Should Marijuana Be Legalized in All States?

Here’s what’s being said in the legislature about legalizing weed:

1. “I think it sends the right message to our teens. It tells them that we’re not going to ruin their lives permanently,” said Rep. John Edwards, D-Tiverton and Portsmouth, who introduced the bill, according to The Brown Daily Herald.

“They can make a mistake,” he added. “We as a state have compassion for that, and we don’t need to be incarcerating any more people for marijuana possession.”

2. “Marijuana prohibition has been a long-term failure. Forcing marijuana into the underground market ensures authorities have no control of the product. Regulating marijuana would allow the product to be sold safely and responsibly by legitimate businesses in appropriate locations,” said Democratic State Sen. Joshua Miller in an official statement, reports High Times.

3. "I do not encourage or promote marijuana use, however I do believe that responsible adults should not be punished because they prefer marijuana to martinis," said state Rep. Edith Ajello, D-Providence, according to Turnto10.com.

4. “If there's a way to legalize marijuana with proper regulations so Rhode Islanders don't get hurt, then it's something lawmakers should look at and get right for the state,” said Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, the High Times reported.

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5. “Regulating marijuana will take sales out of the underground market and allow authorities to keep tabs on the product,” said Democratic state Rep. Scott Slater, who sponsored a House bill that would permit weed in an established and taxed structure, according to The Huffington Post.

“In a legal market, products are tested, labeled, and packaged appropriately, and consumers will not be exposed to other more harmful substances. Taxing marijuana will generate tens of millions of dollars in new revenue that can be invested in our communities.”

6. House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, D-Cranston, hasn’t warmed up to any legalization proposals despite decriminalization efforts, the Providence Journal reported.

“It is currently not on my agenda for this session, but ... I will keep an open mind,” Mattiello said.

7. Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed noted her concerns with the issue of legalization have nothing to do with revenue, according to the Providence Journal.

"Ultimately, this is a conversation not about revenue but about public policy.”

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In 2012, the state of Rhode Island joined ranks with many others across the nation and decriminalized pot. Under the new law, jail time has been replaced with fines of up to $150 for carrying up to one ounce of weed.
legalizing weed, quotes, lawmakers, pot, rhode island
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Tuesday, 19 May 2015 04:33 PM
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