In the years since 2012, Washington State, the District of Columbia, Alaska and Oregon have passed marijuana legalization measures. With several states considering creating measures of their own, it is clear that the legilative bodies can no longer ignore the potential for revenue and growth. I especially noticed this when I went home recently. In a surprizing move, governor Gina Riamundo of Rhode Island proposed a legalization measure. However, unlike all the other places that put the measure through a vote, Riamundo suggested something different; she suggested that the bill be passed through the General Assembly without a popular vote. This would be the first time for this to happen and this has everyone very excited. If Rhode Island becomes the first state on the East coast to have a legal market, the benefits would be astounding. Rhode Island is a cash strapped state. In a state of 1.6 million, the unemployment nears 11 percent, the infrastructure is failing and, being the highest taxed populace, its people could use relief and reinvestment. Everyone I spoke with, no matter what their stance on the issue, clearly understands how legalization would positively impact the state. Most people in Rhode Island see how the tax revenue raised in Colorado beneficially impacts the state, and people would like to see that. They want drivable roads, safe bridges and a reinvestment of revenue into the local economy. If Rhode Island was the first state on the East coast to legalize recreational marijuana, we would get business from from all of New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennyslvania.
Rhode Island has had medical since 2006 and the market and culture have grown steadily through the years. The infrastructure would have no problem adjusting to a recreational market. In fact, growers are allowed to distrubute to the Massachusetts medical market. Because Massachusetts is struggling to keep up with demand, the two states made an agreement. As a result, I feel that RI would be suitable for a recreational market. As it works right now, there are only about 6 companies that supply the market. Within the recreational measure, anyone who got approval from the state would be allowed to diversify the market. It would really open up the market for regular people to take part in a great movement and I really hope it comes to fruition in an egalitarian environment. It would be great for the state and in all reality, Rhode Island would prosper and thrive, no longer just getting by and barely surviving.