Marijuana backers emboldened in region

November 16th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

Posted: November 15
Updated: Today at 1:00 AM

Marijuana backers emboldened in region

Proposals for legalization are likely in Massachusetts and Vermont in addition to Maine and Rhode Island.

The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Recent campaigns that made Colorado and Washington the first states in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana are energizing efforts to do the same in New England, with lawmakers in Rhode Island and Maine vowing to push legislation next year that would impose alcohol-style regulations and taxes on the plant.

State Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland

Contributed photo

Rhode Island Rep. Edith Ajello, D-Providence, said Thursday that the passage of legalization referendums in the two Western states are the latest indication that American attitudes toward marijuana are softening. She said the regulated sale of marijuana would eliminate the black market while raising an estimated $10 million in revenue for government coffers.

“Our prohibition has failed,” she said. “I think legalizing and taxing it, just as we did to alcohol, is the way to do it.”

Maine Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, said Wednesday that she also will propose legislation to legalize marijuana, and estimated that sales taxes on its purchase in Maine would raise $8 million.

Similar proposals are expected in Vermont and Massachusetts, and Robert Capecchi of the Marijuana Policy Project said the successful efforts in Washington and Colorado may represent a “tipping point” for legalization.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia now have medical marijuana programs, and 16 states, including Rhode

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