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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12 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. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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.)
    ..
    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.
    ..
    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.

  6. When accepting “The Anointed One” as our only sovereign, why would an American want “Rulers” from the left or right to usurp power over our lives?
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    There is a consensus for American founding principles to be celebrated amongst Freedom Democrats and with Liberty Republicans; also Classical Liberals certainly agree – as surely do Traditional Conservatives. Legalize Cannabis while holding harmless the fringes of the left or of the right who are divided and might be licking their lips for violence. “Forgive them for they know not what they do” … but if you “know yourself” then you do know what the divided do – that is so tragic and lost.
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    The consensus for a better world colorfully highlighted in the last paragraph of the article.
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    And America will do fine without “single Party Rule”. I believe.

  7. Officials, once elected, get to decide if they prefer either to be Rulers over the people or if they understand it and embrace a Republic of free citizens. Office holders see it more and more as the voters pay better attention to who does what. Our American Republic invites all Rulers and Kings to retire from the scene. When you are employed by the people, please make sure that you work For the people – as the Rhode Island GOP House leader is doing.
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    To legalize the sacred healing herb Cannabis is to legalize America.

  8. Grow Weed Easy on

    I have to say, in this day and age, this appeal by the house leader does not come as a surprise. But that is not to say it will go unnoticed. There is clear need for this product today, and the benefits are well documented. So, it is always nice to hear that efforts are being made to legalize marijuana in more places.

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