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The outlook of marijuana laws

A highly controversial topic that has only gained traction over recent years, cannabis laws in America are ever-changing and researched continually. Marijuana is still seen as a Schedule I drug according to the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, but is more recently exempt from such laws due to its various uses in some states. Rhode Island was one of the states on the East Coast that contained marijuana legalization measures on the ballot for the November 2016 election.


While recreational marijuana is still illegal in Rhode Island, lawmakers predict there will be enough support to pass a bill legalizing marijuana in the near future. Along with Rhode Island, voters in California, Maine, Nevada and Massachusetts have also approved recreational use of marijuana.

Current Marijuana Laws

Although lawmakers have taken steps to alleviate the repercussions of marijuana possession laws, possession of marijuana nevertheless comes with penalties. The Marijuana Policy Project works to increase public support for non-punitive marijuana policies and to change state laws to reduce or eliminate penalties for medical and non-medical use of marijuana. According to the MPP website, the law decriminalizes possession of small marijuana amounts, resulting in a citation of $150 for a first offense. Medical marijuana, however, is legal in Rhode Island. 

Recreational Policy

According to Time Magazine, Rhode Island lawmakers are continuing the fight to legalize recreational marijuana. Democrats supporting this measure warn that, with delays in legalization, Rhode Island residents will only cross the border into Massachusetts to buy legal marijuana. Such actions could result in significant economical damage in Rhode Island. Time also reports that more voters than ever before support marijuana legalization in the United States, with 60 percent voter approval in October of 2016. 





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