Motif’s team took to the emails, the phones and even tracked down those candidates and office holders we could find in person at their fundraisers to find out where they stand on the issue of legalizing cannabis. There may not be a lot of single-issues that affect voters, but we know from our readers that, for many of you, this is one. The surprises? Of the people who answered, there was tremendous agreement that cannabis should be legalized. It’s the how of the thing that’s gumming up the works – from legit concerns about ways to restrict it to kids, to behind the scenes concerns about who gets what part of the pie when it happens. The other surprise was how many candidates and legislators didn’t respond. We reached almost all of them – the non respondents can be safely categorized as “Don’t Know,” “Don’t Care,” or “Not Telling, And You Can’t Make Me.” If you are opposed to legalization, you can simply reverse the grades – an A would become an F, a B becomes a D, C stays the same, and so forth. Here are the legislators and potential legislators who responded, plus a few who answered a similar inquiry made by the Providence Journal recently. Legislators who responded to the ProJo but not this survey are listed with asterisks. That full story can be found at here details on points and how grading was done mathematically, visit this article, cannabisratingsri.com. Grading assisted by RegulateRI, regulateri.com
Free form answers were, by and large, thoughtful and smart. Many cited the tax income as an important factor, and several mentioned the unfairness of mass incarceration (Walsh, Vargas) – for, as Mr. Hernandez pointed out, a drug “our last 3 presidents used at some point.” Lingering concerns, beyond the details of implementation, were keeping cannabis out of the hands of the underaged, and possible conflict with federal law, Mr. Knutton expressed a common sentiment clearly, saying, “I believe marijuana is bad for the mind, body and spirit. However, it is terribly hypocritical of the government give medical marijuana cards to some and lock up others … prohibition of marijuana has failed and the people want it legalized and taxed.” THANK YOU to all who participated!
1. Do you support regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol? How soon?
2. Do you support allowing towns and municipalities to authorize social marijuana use at certain marijuana retail outlets (cannabis cafes), provided that they are limited to adults who are 21 or older?
3. Do you support allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes if authorized by a patient’s doctor?
4. If marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol, would you favor allowing edible marijuana products to be sold in retail outlets if they are packaged and labeled appropriately?
5. Do you favor expanding the number of licensed medical marijuana compassion centers in Rhode Island?
6. Do you favor the idea of prohibiting employers from testing job applicants for marijuana as a condition for employment, unless the drug tests are required under federal law?
7. Do you favor the idea of allowing individuals who are 21 or older to cultivate a limited number marijuana plants in their home?
8. Do you support the Rhode Island marijuana decriminalization law, which replaced criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket?
Joe Almeida Representative D Incumbent 12 A+
Antonio F. Avila Representative R Not Incumbent 69 A+
Joseph Cardillo Representative D Not Incumbent 40 A+
Matthew James Fecteau Senator D Not Incumbent 8 A+
Michael Gazdacko Representative D Not Incumbent 9 A+
Stacia Huyler Representative R Not Incumbent 24 A+
John Lombardi Representative D Incumbent 8 A+
Andrew E. Maguire Representative I Not Incumbent 59 A+
Joshua Miller Senator D Incumbent 28 A+
Margaux Morisseau Senator D Not Incumbent 21 A+
Scott Slater Representative D Incumbent 10 A+
Joseph J. Solomon Jr. Representative D Incumbent 22 A+
Moira Walsh Representative D Not Incumbent 3 A+
Edith Ajello Representative D Incumbent 1 A+*
Brent Barrows Senator R Not Incumbent 22 A
William Hunt Representative L Not Incumbent 68 A
Evan Shanley Representative D Not Incumbant 24 A
Jonathan Vallecilla Representative I Not Incumbent 58 A
Luis A. Vargas Representative I Not Incumbent 12 A
David Bennett Representative D Incumbent 20 A*
Chris Blazejewski Representative D Incumbent 2 A*
Brian Newberry Representative R Incumbent 48 A*
Dominick Ruggerio Senator D Incumbent 4 A*
Bradley Collins Representative I Not Incumbent 46 A
Ryan Hall Representative D Not Incumbent 28 A
Aaron Regunberg Representative D Incumbent 4 A
Gregg Amore Representative D Incumbent 65 B+
Andrew C. Knutton Representative I Not Incumbent 21 B+
Vincent Marzullo Representative I Not Incumbent 26 B+
Lori Barden Representative I Not Incumbent 59 B
Lauren Carson Representative D Incumbent 75 B
Frank Ciccone Senator D Incumbent 7 B
Grace Diaz Representative D Incumbent 11 B
Mark Zaccaria Representative R Not Incumbent 32 B
Cale Keable Representative D Incumbent 47 B*
Michael McCaffrey Senator D Incumbent 29 B*
Harold M. Metts Senator D Incumbent 6 B
Adam Satchell Senator D Incumbent 9 C+
Russell Hryzan Senator I Not Incumbent 6 D
Robert Jacquard Representative D Incumbent 17 D*
James Sheehan Senator D Incumbent 36 D*
Robert Craven Sr. Representative D Incumbent 32 D
Jim Seveney Senator D Not Incumbent 11 D
Mark Gee Senator R Incumbent 35 F*
Antonio Giarrusso Representative R Incumbent 30 F*
Elaine Morgan Senator R Incumbent 34 F*
Patricia Morgan Representative R Incumbent 26 F*
John Pagliarini Senator R Incumbent 11 F*