2014 Election: In their own Words: Why Isn’t cannabis legal yet?

RI Governor

Todd Giroux (D): I am in favor of legalization of cannabis for adult use. The “let’s wait and see” attitude is going to result in watching other states create the revenue while RI falls further behind. The momentum is very strong. I believe it will pass within the next two years

Gina Raimondo (D): It is legal here in Rhode Island for certain medical purposes, and there is a growing support nationwide for legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. We here in Rhode Island have a unique opportunity to follow and study states like Colorado and Washington as they begin to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes.

Clay Pell (D): I believe Rhode Island took the right step in decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. I have also supported medical marijuana and support efforts to fully implement this law. Colorado and Washington have recently taken a step further, and we should carefully watch and learn from their experience as we evaluate any such change in Rhode Island.

That said, when it comes to questions of drug policy, I also believe it is urgent to address the heroin overdose epidemic gripping our state, and New England as a region. Vermont Governor Shumlin dedicated his entire 2014 State of the State address to this topic, and rightfully so. The number of overdose deaths in Rhode Island is equivalent to that of an annual passenger jet crash at Green Airport. We would never allow that to happen in our state, and we must not allow the staggering number of heroin-related deaths to continue here.

As Governor, I will work with the substance abuse policy community, law enforcement, and other partners to both support drug awareness and treatment programs and combat drug addiction and fatalities.

Providence Mayor

Daniel Harrop (R): I have no idea. The stupid laws against it should have been repealed years ago. I can safely say I am the only candidate to have actually written permissions for patients to get a MJ card, but it would be so much easier to just get rid of the outdated laws and end the “War on Drugs,” which we have been losing for years.

Buddy Cianci (I): Cannabis definitely has become more accessible and decriminalized, but there are still influential groups that wield considerable power in the statehouse who believe it is a gateway drug.

Michael Solomon (D): I consider this a state issue, but I will certainly watch how things play out in Colorado over the next several years.

Jorge Elorza (D): There is now widespread agreement on decriminalization: What responsible adults want to do in their own homes isn’t a public matter, and furthermore, we can’t keep locking up so many of our youth and young adults for minor infractions. That’s real progress. But I don’t think it has been completely legalized yet because so many of us have read conflicting studies on its ramifications. Some studies say that legalization won’t increase drug use among teens, other say it will. There’s been no conclusive proof, so I think it’s wise that we’re taking a wait and see approach.

Brett Smiley (D): I think we’re making progress. I’m the only Democratic mayoral candidate [as of this writing] that’s supportive of taxation and legalization of marijuana for adults. Colorado and Washington will help pave the way to make it easier for us. We’re changing votes at the statehouse one vote at a time, but I think we’re making progress.