Criminalization of marijuana use never did make sense. Surely the results of the Drug War--billions of dollars wasted, tens of millions of regular users, millions of people arrested--have made it even more obvious that prohibition is a failure. And now,with the U.S. suffering through a nasty recession, it is even more foolish to waste resources in a vain attempt to stop recreational drug use.
Before heading home for the July 4th weekend the Rhode Island Senate set up a committee to study the idea of decriminalization. Reports the Providence Journal:
Weeks after legalizing the sale of marijuana to sick people, lawmakers have voted to explore how much Rhode Island might collect in revenue if it were to make all sales of marijuana legal and impose a “sin tax” of $35 per ounce.
During the General Assembly’s aborted rush to adjournment Friday, the Senate approved a resolution — introduced earlier the same day — to create a nine-member special commission to study a swath of issues surrounding marijuana. Among them: “The experience of individuals and families sentenced for violating marijuana laws ... The experience of states and European countries, such as California, Massachusetts and the Netherlands, which have decriminalized the sale and use of marijuana.”
Drug prohibition has failed. Rhode Island legislators have an opportunity to help the nation change direction in the way it deals with drug abuse.