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3 out of 5 Rhode Island Voters Support Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows momentum for marijuana legalization is growing in Rhode Island.

A new poll of Rhode Island voters shows increased support for legalizing recreational marijuana. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), found that 59 percent of voters are in favor of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol. In 2015, support for legalization among voters was 57 percent.

Regulate Rhode Island, a coalition committed to ending marijuana prohibition, held a news conference with Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Cranston) and Rep. Scott Slater (D-Providence) last week to announce and discuss the results of the poll.

“Rhode Island has the opportunity to become the third New England state to regulate marijuana for adult use,” said Miller. “The results of this poll confirm that our constituents want us to follow the same path as Massachusetts and Maine.”

Miller and Slater recently introduced the Cannabis Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act, which would legalize marijuana use for adults age 21 and over. Sales would be taxed at 23 percent on top of the standard 7 percent sales tax. This is the third year in a row that an adult use marijuana bill has been introduced to the state assembly, but lawmakers believe support is higher this year and are more confident that the bill could pass.

“A strong and growing majority of voters support our proposal to regulate marijuana,” said Rep. Slater. “Our job is to represent the people of this state, and their position on this issue is pretty clear. It’s time to replace the senseless policy of marijuana prohibition with a sensible policy of regulation.”

The poll also organized its results by cities and towns and found majority support throughout the state:

  • Statewide: 59 percent support, 36 percent opposed, 4 percent not sure
  • Providence: 62 percent support, 31 percent opposed, 8 percent not sure
  • Cranston: 58 percent support, 41 percent opposed, 1 percent not sure
  • Newport: 64 percent support, 33 percent opposed, 3 percent not sure
  • Warwick: 61 percent support, 35 percent opposed, 4 percent not sure
  • North Kingston: 53 percent support, 45 percent opposed, 3 percent not sure
  • Burrillville/Glocester: 70 percent support, 27 percent opposed, 3 percent not sure
DEA marijuana illegal

Last month, Gov. Gina Raimondo claimed that if Rhode Island were to legalize adult use marijuana, the state would generate $10 million to $15 million in tax revenue in its first year of sales.

“Most Rhode Islanders recognize prohibition has failed and seem to view regulating marijuana is a no brainer,” said Regulate Rhode Island director Jared Moffat. “Regulation better protects young people, improves public health and safety, and creates more economic opportunities for workers and entrepreneurs in our state. No matter how you look at it, this is clearly a smart path for us to take. Lawmakers would be wise to follow the will of their constituents.”

PPP surveyed 759 registered Rhode Island voters between January 27 and January. You can read the full Public Policy Polling results at Regulate Rhode Island.

Rhode Island is among the three states we recently highlighted as having strong chances of soon legalizing recreational marijuana. Learn more about Rhode Island’s current cannabis laws by visiting our education page.

Post by Eve Ripley

Eve is a writer specializing in cannabis education and editorials related to cannabis industry news.

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