Marijuana Reform Hearings At R.I. State House Wednesday

Hearings will take place at the Rhode Island State House, Wednesday, March 16, on two bills that would reform marijuana laws in the state. One bill would make marijuana possession similar to a traffic violation, and the other would legalize, tax and regulate cannabis.

HB 5031 would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil penalty carrying a fine of $150. The bill, sponsored by Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Tiverton) and others, would allow people who are convicted of simple, nonviolent cannabis possession charges to avoid the lifelong stigma of a criminal record.
The measure would also save the state millions of dollars on police and court time.

What: Hearing on RI H 5031, Decriminalization of Marijuana Possession
When: “Rise of the House” (4:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 16)
Where: Room 313, Rhode Island State House, Providence, R.I.
Marijuana Policy Project legislative analyst Robert Capecchi will be present and available for comment.
Capecchi will also be presenting testimony to the House Finance Committee at an earlier hearing to discuss the benefits of H 5591, a legalization bill which would remove criminal penalties for adults who use marijuana and establish a taxed and regulated system for its distribution.
This is the second year in a row that Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Providence) has introduced this legalization measure. This hearing will take place in the Trainor Hearing Room (Room 35) at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16.
The bill would create a system for the regulation and distribution of marijuana to responsible adults in Rhode Island. It would remove the lucrative marijuana market from criminal market, while creating jobs and producing tens of millions of dollars in both savings and tax revenue, according to a report by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron.
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