GOP House Leader Calling for Legal Marijuana in Rhode Island | Marijuana

GOP House Leader Calling for Legal Marijuana in Rhode Island

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The Republican leader in Rhode Island’s House of Representatives thinks the state should fully legalize marijuana.

But while that news would typically bode well for reform efforts in state legislatures, the problem is that the Democratic speaker isn’t quite on board — and the House is dominantly controlled by Democrats.

In an interview with Rhode Island NPR affiliate WNPN-FM on Nov. 30, 2018, Minority Leader Blake Filippi was asked to weigh in on Massachusetts’ newly implemented adult-use cannabis program and said straightaway that he believes “it should be legal.” However, anyone caught selling marijuana to kids should be sent to jail, he added.

“It’s very encouraging to see this kind of public and unhesitating support for legalizing marijuana from the House GOP leader on an issue that virtually all Rhode Island progressives are already behind,” Jared Moffat, Rhode Island political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment. “That kind of bipartisan support is what we need to get a bill through in 2019.”

Filippi also said in the radio interview that problems with traffic congestion in Massachusetts cities, where only two dispensaries are currently operating, could have been avoided by opening 15 to 20 stores at the same time, instead of the state’s staggered approach.

“That would have alleviated many of the problems.”

On the other side of the aisle, the Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello isn’t ready to embrace marijuana legalization, but last month he told Providence CBS affiliate WPRI-TV that he would “consider all options.

In a later email, he recognized the potential economic benefits of legalization, but said “it will also increase social costs and public safety concerns.”

“We will have to determine what the net impact would be for Rhode Island in light of the legal sales in Massachusetts and other states, and I look forward to collaborating with my House colleagues in the next legislative session and listening to the views of our citizens.”

During a debate in the run-up to the election Nov. 6, 2018, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo seemed to echo Mattiello’s concerns, saying that she’s “open” to legalization but “cautious” about it. Legal marijuana programs are “hard to regulate so it doesn’t get into the hands of kids,” she said.

For his part, Filippi’s support for legalization appears rooted in a libertarian ideology. Later in his radio interview, the lawmaker stressed the importance of championing personal liberties and limiting the role of government “in our private lives, in our homes, and in our wallets.”

This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.

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15 Comments

  1. Voters favor full legalization of Cannabis 2 to 1. Public Officials are literally employed by the people and the people keep track now days.
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    Is the citizen free to choose for himself this harmless non-addicting medicine .. or not?
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    More and more voters make Cannabis freedom priority one because any society that is criminalizing 20% of it’s adult population due to Cannabis involvement [a 20% of adults who are actually choosing for better health] is really perpetuating very harmful public policy.

  2. The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, or S0710, was introduced in the Rhode Island Legislature in February 2005. The measure was approved by the legislature on June 28, 2005. The following day, the bill was vetoed by Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri. On Jan. 3, 2006, The House overrode Carcieri’s veto, making Rhode Island the 11th state to legalize medical cannabis. Possession of small amounts of recreational use cannabis was also decriminalized, but possession is still considered a civil violation

  3. “The Republican leader in Rhode Island’s House of Representatives” should read “The Republican MINORITY leader…” because talk is cheap when you don’t have to back it up.
    It’s nothing but false advertising.
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    Democrats can handle Democrats, thank you! The last thing we need is advice from Republicans, on anything, especially marijuana legalization. That’s bullshit.
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    Here’s how we are handling our own: Within the Blue Wave, there is a large Green Wave.
    Meaning, we marijuana-legalizing Democrats will bring along our own politicians with cold feet or jellied spines, never mind the Republican noise machine. Republican posturing means nothing; Democrats are ahead of Republicans on the marijuana legalization issue, by light years!
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    Republicans, being prohibitionist throwbacks, simply have no room to talk.

  4. Who is a Republican actively out there advocating for full legalization of Cannabis for adults? Why would anyone of either of the two biggest political parties choose for the civil liberties of the people instead of for the convoluted “social conservative” view of outlawing Cannabis? To forbid medicine, of course, is to inflict punishments on the innocent in the case of Cannabis outlawing or shaming.
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    Are the people of all partisan views, then, coming to realize that the individual is the steward of his own body once he is adult? Clearly no adult should ever be coerced to smoke Cannabis, but how can any American who sees our heritage choose to favor the enslavement of their neighbors with Cannabis prohibition? Fiscally responsible politicians are thoughtful and wise especially when they do realize that the productive sector keeps everyone from poverty and decline – And that being in favor of personal freedom as well, is indeed the American way.
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    This is the libertarian Center of who we are, regardless of what political party we join.
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    It is in our unity that America brings to our citizens freedom as well as common prosperity…. and in the Strength of such Unity, peace.

  5. Hmmmm, voting for Dems who champion American founding principles, and most strikingly voting for Dems who actually advocate for the legalization of Cannabis makes good sense now days. Yet might “a big blue wave” – which is called for by “progressive” Americans – just land us in a depressing financial downturn like the French are currently experiencing with the Macron government? It looks like the productive sector over there has been harmed and alienated by some progressive policies of that government.
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    I expect that answers will be offered about it here, but are they the right answers?
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    Remember that neo cons and progressives are on the right and left fringes of American politics, while stability and balance come more from the center. Just saying…

  6. Regardless of any analysis of the policies of the “centrist” French President Emmanuel Macron and his administration, there can be no economic argument that can serve as legitimate justification for American authoritarian fascism — that is, Trumpism.

    • Hello Dain Bram. A “centrist” isn’t someone who plays to the fringe left AND to the fringe right at the same time, even if it’s easy to think so. President Macron of France tried to appease the wealthy with a big tax cut for them while Additionally weakening his country by open borders and other “progressive” [tax and spend] policies. A “Centrist” of course takes care of the workers and the productive businesses with making citizen based policy decisions – and this is the direct opposite of what the recent French government has done.
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      There is common ground for you and I because IF our President were – or Becomes – as authoritarian Or Fascist as you think he might ….. then bingo, consensus for us.
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      Yet.. As of now the President agrees with No legal crackdown on the Cannabis community, which Would be an attack on 20% of American citizens… so far President Trump leans toward the sovereignty of the individual in such a clear cut case of rightful civil liberties. Nor does the President support a militant foreign policy which would indicate a fascist agenda … so far at least .
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      Again, I’m not “on either side”.. in fact just the opposite, I think everyone involved has some merit in their view of it. That said, I don’t see the President as acting authoritarian toward the American people or enacting fascist aggressions anywhere. Or is This the very Reason he is so relentlessly attacked from so many voices… because he Won’t aggress or repress? Is it the neo conservative element, most of all, endeavoring to destroy the current administration?
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      And if you say that our President Did push for a big tax cut for the wealthy in America without regard for budget deficits, then you and I can agree completely on the potentially harmful side effects from it, eh?

  7. How many millions of Americans have been attacked by their society for a highly medicinal plant with no harmful side effects? Untold millions of arrests, lives ruined, resources squandered. Public opinion about Cannabis has become well informed and so is by now very positive toward legalization. When the arrests and punishments for Cannabis related activities ends, our Republic will be so much better off. In recent years a big and growing majority of Americans agree.
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    I support everyone who does work for or who will work for removing the harmful and the unConstitutional statutes which outlaw this sacred plant. Cannabis does heal human body tissue and it can help to resolve human conflicts if the person prefers peace.

    • Well, Trump ain’t no legalizer, he’s a con man, as any fool can plainly see. So, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

  8. William Barr as AG. Another rabid drug warrior.
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    Well, Duh! He’s Traitor Trump’s personal pick; naturally he’s bad for marijuana legalization. No shit, Sherlock.
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    As I have said many times before, Traitor Trump is the primary threat to marijuana legalization, not just his AG. Trump thinks marijuana users are all addicts who need to be locked up or killed outright, and he has said so plainly (See Trump’s praise for Duterte’s extra-judicial slaughter of drug users in the Philippines.)
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    If you take away one stinking turd of an AG, Trump will just shit out another one.
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  9. From German Lopez at Vox:
    President Donald Trump will nominate William Barr as his next attorney general — and criminal justice reformers are very worried.
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    The news means Barr, who formerly served as President George H.W. Bush’s attorney general, will replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions if the Republican-controlled Senate approves Trump’s nomination. (Matthew Whitaker is currently serving as acting attorney general.)
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    Much of the attention is focused on what Barr’s nomination may mean for the Russia investigation, given his previous remarks that he thought it was okay for Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey and that Hillary Clinton should be investigated.
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    But as head of the US Department of Justice, Barr would also have a lot of control over the federal criminal justice system more broadly. Ames Grawert, senior counsel at the Brennan Center, which supports criminal justice reform, tweeted, “Barr is one of the few people left in policy circles who could reasonably be called as bad as, or worse than, Jeff Sessions on criminal justice reform.” And make no mistake: Sessions had a very bad record on criminal justice reform.
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    In fact, Barr praised Sessions’s record at the Justice Department, including some of his work dismantling criminal justice efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration.
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    In short: If you were hoping that Sessions’s replacement would be better on criminal justice reform, Barr’s nomination should be of great concern.

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