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PROVIDENCE – Sen. Joshua Miller and Rep. Edith Ajello, both Providence Democrats, announced plans to introduce a bill that would legalize recreational use of marijuana.
According to a statement, the drug would be legal for adults 21 and older and establish a system that regulates and taxes marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.
The measure would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to two marijuana plants (only one may be mature) in an enclosed, locked space. It would also establish a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities and testing facilities; enact an excise tax of up to $50 per ounce on the wholesale sale of marijuana flowers applied at the point of transfer from the cultivation facility to a retail store (a special 10 percent sales tax will also be applied at the point of retail sale); and require the R.I. Department of Business Regulation to establish rules regulating security, labeling, health and safety requirements.
In their joint statement, the legislators cited a study showing 53 percent of Rhode Island voters support changing state law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol. That survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling on Jan. 14-15 and showed 41 percent of voters opposed to legalization. The full survey results are available at http://www.mpp.org/RIpoll. •