A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that 53 percent of Rhode Island voters support amending their state’s law so that marijuana may be sold and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. Only 41 percent oppose such an initiative.
Should such an effort succeed in Rhode Island, it would become the third state — after Colorado and Washington — to do so and the first to legalize marijuana through legislative action. Both Colorado and Washington did so by initiative. Marijuana advocates are, in the words of the Marijuana Policy Project’s Karen O’Keefe “very hopeful” that the Rhode Island legislature could be the first to enact a legalization law — although it is an open question whether they will do so any time soon.
A bill to legalize pot does enjoy high-level support in Rhode Island. It was introduced by House Judiciary Chair Edith Ajello, a Democrat. Republican Minority Leader Brain Newberry is a co-sponsor.