“We’re Confident We Have the Votes” to Legalize Marijuana in RI, Says Moffat

Friday, March 10, 2017


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Jared Moffat

The head of the advocacy effort to legalize marijuana in Rhode Island told GoLocal that he believes that there is support in the General Assembly this year to approve the measure -- if it comes to a vote. 

Jared Moffat with RegulateRI appeared on GoLocal LIVE to make the case for legalization, following former Congressman Patrick Kennedy appearing on the show to say why he is against. SEE MOFFAT'S APPEARANCE ON GOLOCAL LIVE BELOW

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Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy

VIDEO: See Kennedy's GoLocal LIVE Appearance HERE

"This year is different. Massachusetts changes the dynamic quite a bit," said Moffat. "If Rhode Island doesn't do it this year, we'll be donating a lot of tax revenue, a lot of jobs [to Massachusetts]. And we'll be left behind."

Combating AG, Opponents

On Thursday, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and opponents to marijuana legalization held a press event, to which Moffat issued a response. 

Citing poll results where they found that three out of five Rhode Islanders support legalization "because they understand that the sky has not fallen in Colorado, Washington or other states that have chosen to make marijuana legal for adults," Moffat blasted the aggressive approach by Kilmartin,  just prior to his appearance on LIVE.

"We question whether it is appropriate for full-time state employees from the Attorney General's Office to focus so much time and resources lobbying against marijuana when most voters support adopting a more sensible approach," said Moffat in a statement. "In addition to the press conference today, their office is pushing cities and towns to adopt a very misleading and inaccurate anti-legalization resolution."

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Moffat contested Kennedy's assertions that marijuana legalization will feed into the addiction crisis in the country.

"It flies in the face of scientific research," Moffat told GoLocal. "There's a substitute effect -- people use marijuana instead of pain medication."

"All this money is flowing in the hands of illicit dealers. we could use it instead to invest in schools," said Moffat of money being spent on marijuana. "There are positive benefits [to legalization] even if you don't use marijuana -- public health, public safety, jobs, and revenue."

Moffat said that while he doesn't know for certain where legislators all stand on the tax-and-regulate legislation, he is optimistic that Rhode Island would follow in Massachusetts footsteps -- should they get a vote. 
"It's tough to get them on the record," said Moffat. "We feel confident that if the bill's allowed to be voted on -- but in the [past] six years we've never gotten a single vote ---- we feel confident we have the support to pass it out of both chambers."


Related Slideshow: The Highest Marijuana Prices in New England by State

The "crowdsourced" website, The Price of Weed, uses consumer input to show how much an ounce of marijuana costs -- by location.  

Below are the rankings of New England states, from lowest price reported for "medium grade" marijuana, to highest, along with the number ("n") submitting data.  

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#6 Rhode Island


Med: $254.87/oz (n=332)

High: $334.55/oz (n=490)
Low: $204.34/oz (n=31)
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#5 Maine


Med: $260.92/oz (n=395)

High: $322.94/oz (n=423)
Low: $227.68/oz (n=49)
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#4 Connecticut


Med:  $275.19/oz (n=1204)

High:  $353.65/oz (n=1210)
Low:  $261.74/oz (n=88)
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#3 Massachusetts


Med:  $297.83/oz (n=2305)

High:  $359.88/oz (n=2705)
Low:  $215.93/oz (n=208)
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#2 New Hampshire


Med: $313.01/oz (n=410)

High: $377.02/oz (n=399)
Low: $608.01/oz (n=34)
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#1 Vermont


Med: $325.34/oz (n=209)

High: $380.48/oz (n=262)
Low: $187.06/oz (n=24)

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