Rhode Island: From Legalizing Marijuana at the Ballot Box to Legalizing It by Legislation, Lawmakers Look to Cash In

When Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure in November to legalize recreational marijuana, Josh Miller saw this as a sign that his time had finally arrived. 

The Rhode Island state senator has a reputation among colleagues as a cannabis crusader — a battle that, so far, he’s lost. For the last three years, Miller introduced legislation to legalize recreational pot, and for the last three years, his efforts have died in committee hearing rooms.

But now, in a turnaround, some of Miller’s colleagues are signaling an interest in legalized weed — and raking in the tax dollars that come with it.

“We now have the wind at our backs,” said Miller, who introduced his latest pro-pot bill last week. “Seeing our next door neighbor legalize it should help us — a lot.” 

In the fall, three other states joined Massachusetts in passing recreational pot ballot measures: California, Maine and Nevada. Four other states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and...

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