Readers of Motif might recognize the name Jared Moffat, a longtime leader of cannabis legalization efforts and Regulate RI before he moved out of the country a few years ago. Moffat is considering a move back to Rhody, but even from far away he remains up-to-date on our state’s high moves on legalization, and he’ll be helping out with cannabis legislation for the remainder of the current session.
“The governor’s proposal is our best chance at legalization,” said Moffat. He said that it isn’t how he would choose to write it, but Raimondo including it in her budget makes it difficult to state lawmakers to take it out because they’d have to find the revenue it’s expected to bring in from somewhere else. Moffat wants to focus on “creating an appetite for amendments, and move the current legislation forward.”
But what amendments? They fall into two broad categories. The first is home cultivation. Moffat has concerns that banning home-cultivation would reproduce conditions similar to those under prohibition. “We let people brew at home for beer and distill small batches of certain spirits,” says Moffat. “Why not treat cannabis the same?” Anyone currently with a license to cultivate cannabis at home would have to demonstrate need under the Raimondo administration’s current proposal. The definition of “need” is vague and could be applied broadly.
Moffat also would like to see amendments that address historical and current social inequities. There is currently no language that addresses issues of social justice. “We would like to see someone with a prior related to cannabis have their record expunged, except in DUI cases,” says Moffat. “Everyone deserves a clean slate.”