Rhode Island lawmakers are making a final push before the current session ends. One of the bills they are considering is H 7752, which is known as the 'Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act.' It would make possession of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older, and it would establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores. Rhode Island was near the top of many lists related to states most likely to be the first to legalize recreational marijuana via legislative action.
A recent poll was conducted by Brown University which found strong support for such a public policy change. Per Brown University:
A strong majority of Rhode Island voters, 67 percent, support the state's current law allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. A majority, 55 percent, support passing a law to regulate and tax the use of marijuana for recreational use, similarly to how alcohol is taxed and regulated. Voters 44 and younger strongly supported this change, at 72 percent, with voters 65 and older split --- 43 percent approve and 42 oppose.
Poll respondents were asked whether they have ever tried marijuana. Forty-one percent said yes, with 34 percent of female respondents and 49 percent of male respondents saying they had tried marijuana at least once. Just 3 percent of respondents refused to answer the question. Of those who have tried marijuana, 12 percent said they had used marijuana in the past 30 days, with 15 percent saying they have used within the past year.
Rhode Island lawmakers need to listen to the voters, and pass the legalization bill. If that happens, Rhode Island would be the first state to legalize marijuana via legislative action. It would also make Rhode Island the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in the area (worth noting that DC has legalized). If you live in Rhode Island, share the results of this poll with your elected officials, and encourage others to do the same.