This is a big opportunity for the Ocean State. With no end in sight for Rhode Island’s unemployment crisis, and certainly no signs of a major industry making a move to the area, it’s time for little Rhody to take the lead and create an industry with no local (at least temporarily) competition.
If RI plays it’s cards right, and takes the lead here in the northeast, not only will the state gain revenue via the taxation of marijuana and save funds by no longer arresting, jailing, and prosecuting non-violent offenders, but could build the infrastructure for hemp based industries. Hempcrete, hemp based fuels and plastics and a myriad of other products, all illegal due to prohibition, could all be made in RI.
When prohibition is finally lifted nationwide the state with the most robust hemp industry infrastructure will become the hemp processing capitol of the United States. It only makes sense for little Rhody to act now to ensure the future. Until then, why not take advantage of the “pot tourism” that would come with being the only eastern state with legal weed? That and the beautiful shoreline, what could be better?
NBC News reported that marijuana brought in more than $1 million in tax revenue for Colorado in the first 27 days it was legal.
“Rhode Island faces a pretty serious deficit. The sooner we pass this legislation, the sooner we can start to realize the necessary tax revenue off these sales,” state Rep. Edith Ajello, D-Providence, said.
Supporters of the bill said they believe legalizing marijuana could bring $26 million in tax revenue to Rhode Island annually.
“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,” Ajello said.
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin strongly opposes legalization.
In a letter he sent last year opposing a similar bill, Kilmartin wrote, “With juveniles’ perception of the risk of marijuana already diminishing due to decriminalization in our state … this act would only further blur the risk perception of teen marijuana use.”