Poll shows increased public support for legalizing, regulating marijuana

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A brand new poll of Rhode Island voters shows increased support for legalizing the use of recreational marijuana — and regulating and taxing it similar to alcohol, according to a local advocacy group.

Regulate RI held a news conference Tuesday morning, showing off the poll done by Public Policy Polling (PPP), which surveyed 759 registered Rhode Island voters between January 27 and January 29 (margin of error, plus or minus 3.6 percent).

59 percent of voters polled, about three in five, were in favor of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol. That’s up from 57 percent in a 2015 poll. Only about one in three voters, or 36 percent, is opposed.

Democrats Sen. Joshua Miller (Cranston) and Rep. Scott Slater (Providence) recently introduced a bill to legalize the recreational use and taxation of marijuana. The proposed bill would let adults 21 and older possess up to one ounce of marijuana, and grow one mature marijuana plant in an enclosed, locked space, according to Regulate RI. Marijuana sales would be taxed at 23 percent on top of the standard 7 percent sales tax. The bill would also establish a system of offices, stores and cultivation facilities.

“The results of this poll confirm that our constituents want us to follow the same path as Massachusetts and Maine,” said Miller, who’s the chairman of the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee.