Another Victory For Marijuana Reformers
Source: Atlantic Monthly
Rhode Island -- In the latest advancement for marijuana law reformers, the Rhode Island state legislature today legalized medical marijuana stores in the state, overriding Gov. Don Carcieri's (R) veto.
The new law will take effect immediately. Legislators voted in favor of the measure by wide margins on several votes today (vetoes of both House and Senate bills had to be overcome in each chamber): 67-0 and 64-0 in two votes in the House, and 35-3 in both House votes.
Carcieri had vetoed the legislation on Friday.
This marks yet another victory for marijuana reformers in 2009, a year that has seen major advancements toward the inclusion of marijuana reform in the mainstream political lexicon. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested a public debate on marijuana legalization in May, after the state's budget crisis and the Mexican drug war added some rationales to reform efforts.
A Field poll showed 56 percent of Californians in support of outright legalization.
President Obama, who had pledged to back off federal raids on medical marijuana users and sellers, took office, and with him new drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, who doesn't support legalization but oversaw the implementation of a decriminalization program as Seattle's chief of police.
The new administration is viewed in the marijuana reform community as much easier to work with than the previous one, and as having a much friendlier approach to reformers' goals.
Rhode Island's action "is of actual significance because it is the first state to take an existing medical marijuana law and add state licensed dispensaries to it," Mariuana Policy Project Communications Director Bruce Mirken said.
"This is a direct result from a more enlightened policy from the administration," Mirken said, citing Attorney General Eric Holder's cessation of medical marijuana raids.
Source: Atlantic Monthly, The (US)
Author: Chris Good
Published: June 16, 2009
Copyright: 2009 by The Atlantic Monthly Company
Carcieri Vetoes Bill Allowing MMJ Dispensaries
Assembly, In Veto-Proof Votes, OKs Dispensaries