In April, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from numerous organizations and professionals regarding legislation that seeks to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to what states like Colorado have done. For numerous reasons, the ACLU has long opposed laws that criminalize the cultivation, possession, use and sale or delivery of marijuana. While it is true that marijuana, like other drugs, can be abused, it should be treated like a public health problem, rather than through ineffective, inappropriate and punitive criminal measures. Regulating the sale and possession of marijuana as a medical and public health issue and for consumer protection is a sensible approach whose time has come.
While this legislation did not pass, the Senate and the House approved a commission to study the potential legalization of marijuana in Rhode Island.