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State is addicted to addicts

edit:casino time:2019-02-07

ARLENE VIOLET - State is addicted to addicts

In an effort to find money for the burgeoning state budget, Gov. Gina Raimondo is proposing to legalize recreational marijuana. She projects that the state would receive $14.3 million in gross revenue by the end of fiscal year 2020 after an outlay of $3.5 million to get the business up and running. Attorney Gen. Peter Neronha is correct in raising concerns about its implementation. He notes that the proposal should require strong regulations to protect public health and safety and prevent children from accessing the drug. He is joined by the R.I. Association of Police Chiefs in urging caution, not that anyone on Smith Hill is really listening. They only see green.

Ho hum! Here we go again. Rather than curb the state’s appetite for rapacious spending, leaders will do just about anything to get more money to spend. Unlike alcohol, which can be detected on impaired drivers, no such “Breathalyzer” test presently exists to determine impaired driving because of the high from too much weed. Yet, despite the dubious driving which already abounds in the state, officials are ready to add potheads into the mix. No approval should be given until appropriate detection is in place, regardless of what other states risk.

Multiple studies exist that say young men’s brains do not fully develop until about age 26. No matter. The state isn’t looking for Einsteins. Maybe Generation X shouldn’t be too smart lest they see the flaws in government.

The most annoying argument is that legalized drugs will prevent black market cannabis from being purveyed. Hardly. Usually the state-sponsored dope costs more. Further, after a while the sub rosa market will market its bhang by scoffing at the “kiddie stuff” sold statewide as opposed to their designer roach which will pack a punch.

Policy wise, there is something disconcerting about making money off bad habits. It’s no accident that the governor is advocating the tax hike from $4.25 to $4.50 per pack for cigarette smokers. Senate President Ruggerio is cheerleading the effort to allow sports betting via the internet. The state seems awash in sin taxes. Where would the state coffers be without addicts? In a recent Colorado study, where marijuana was legalized a few years back, almost 30 percent of the heaviest pot users comprised 87.1 percent of demand for the drug.

Certainly, medical marijuana is supportable so the real issue is the sanction on recreational pot. Earlier the concerns of Neronha were noted but it should also be pointed out that he also supports the contention that the current drug and criminal justice policies are far too punitive and costly, helping to contribute to the mass incarceration of Americans. During my tenure as Attorney General, mere possession cases were routinely filed following addiction treatment.

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