Canario marijuana commission bill goes to governor

Rep. Dennis Canario (D-71, Portsmouth) and Sen. Cynthia Coyne’s (D-32, Barrington) legislation (H 5551Aaa) that would create a 19-member special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island passed the General Assembly last night, according to a state house news release.

“The potential effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island would have drastic impacts to the fabric of our state and this commission is necessary to determine if those effects would come with positive or negative outcomes,” said Canario. “There is too much at stake from both a financial and a public health standpoint to rush into legalization because Massachusetts has elected to do so. This commission will take a thoughtful and data-driven approach to determine if legalizing marijuana is the right move for Rhode Island.”

“Based on my experience as a retired State Police lieutenant and a mom of four children, I understand that legalization of marijuana for recreational use could have serious public safety, public health and societal ramifications. It is imperative that we thoughtfully consider the unintended consequences and take notice from lessons learned in Colorado and Washington. We should take full advantage of other states’ experiences and learn about whether we should follow in their footsteps or perhaps take a different approach to avoid any problems they may have encountered,” said Coyne.

The commission would consist of three members of the House of Representatives, three members of the Senate, one member from Smart Approaches to Marijuana, the President of the Substance Use Mental Health Council of RI or a designee, a member from a pro-legalization organization, the Executive Director of the RI Medical Society or a designee, a member of a local chamber of commerce, the Director of the Department of Health or a designee, the President of the RI Police Chief’s Association or a designee, a designee of the RI Attorney General, a member representing the medical marijuana patients of Rhode Island, an educator in Rhode Island, a mental health professional, a criminal defense attorney, and the President of the RI AFL-CIO.

The purpose of the commission would be to conduct a comprehensive review and make recommendations regarding marijuana and the effects of its use on the residents of Colorado and Washington to the extent available, and to study the fiscal impact to those states; and thereafter the potential impact on Rhode Island of legalized recreational marijuana.

Local cosponsors of the legislation included Sen. Jim Seveney (D-11, Portsmouth), and Sen. Lou DiPalma (D-12, Middletown).

The bill now heads to the governor for consideration.

Editorial note: Written from a state house news release.

02871, Localblogging, marijuana, GA

March Madness at Town Council on Monday: Arsenic, marijuana, and skateboarding

The Portsmouth Town Council has a full bracket of PCC-sponsored mayhem on Monday, and I would urge all citizens interested in respect for science, medicine, and the right of our children to play as they wish in our public parks to attend.

Under old business, Paul "Transparancy" Kesson has an agenda item to "request that the Council Direct the Town Solicitor to prepare and ordinance limiting contaminates in fill material to the levels existing on land to be filled." Yes, the Council clearly knows better than the RI DEM, the Federal government, and the international scientific community about safe levels of arsenic. If you care about science, the right to use compost, or our taxes (see my previous posts) you'll want to encourage the Council to think long and hard about this one.

Okay, well, maybe just think long.

Then, former PCC director "Cheshire" Kathy Melvin has requested an agenda item, "Request Council Involvement in Approval Process for Locating Marijuana Center in Portsmouth Industrial Park." While I suppose it's possible that Ms. Melvin wants to urge the Council to speed the process along to get medical relief to those who need it, my gut tells me that's not what's going to be requested. Where were Ms. Melvin and the Council when CVS and RiteAid were stocking store shelves in our town with oxycodone? I'm shocked. Shocked, I say.

And to round out the trifecta of wacky, Portsmouth Police Chief Lance Hebert has an item, "Request Council Direction on how to Proceed re: Signage - Skateboarding at Island Park Playground/Police Dept." If you've read the coverage in Patch, you'll know that a new sign banning skating appeared in the Island Park playground, and my guess is that the Chief is going to ask the Council for an ordinance to back it up. Journalists are always looking for hidden connections, and while correlation is not causality, the fact that some of the most vocal landfill wingnuts are also the core of the anti-skate crowd makes me go, "hmmm." Not that the drumbeat of "who approved the aresenic" rhetoric about Town Administrator Bob Driscoll could have scared him into putting up a no-skating sign. I would never believe that. Nope. Not me. Remember that Descartes fundamental axiom is more properly stated as Dubito ergo sum, which makes much more sense when you think about it.

I'll admit, I haven't been going to Council meetings. Given the 4-member PCC bloc, it just hasn't seemed worth trying to reason with them. But these are issues that touch everyone in the community, and even if they're intent on corkscrewing Portsmouth into the ground, I think they should hear from us. Hope to see you there.

Full disclosure: I was a member of the Island Park working group that attempted to find a mediated solution on the skate park, and I was on the side of the skaters.

Localblogging, 02871, skate, Landfill capping, marijuana

Most disappointed visitor ever...

One of the joys of running a site is getting reports about what are called "referrers," or web sites that have sent visitors, and the one that showed up last night was such a classic I just had to post it: check out this Google search.

Yes, that was someone who came to hard deadlines by googling the question "Where can I get weed in Portsmouth RI?" Unless the visitor shares my enthusiasm for the State Senate Majority Leader, I'm afraid there may not be much on my site of immediate interest. Even teh Google stumbles occasionally.

I hope she or he has better luck with Herb Chambers.

ps: If you are, in fact, the originator of this googling, please be reassured. No IP addresses are associated with searches here. And if you like reading about Portsmouth politics, well, heck, everyone is welcome. I even have readers from the PCC, and those folks are more likely to be aficionados of Lasix, Lopressor, and Norvasc.

pps: Seriously, I don't want to be a downer, or smack anyone around. Sometimes I'm accused of having an acid tongue. Because of the speed with which I crank out these posts, I can sometimes miss the essence, but I mean no grievous bodily harm.

Localblogging, 02871, marijuana