In a already sticky mess, Rhode Island once again seeks to cash in on the Medical Cannabis Program. In what would be a great time to create thousands of jobs and millions upon millions in ethical revenue on a well regulated recreational program like our neighbors, the State decides yet again to explain to Capitol Hill how they can steal..... I mean "Tax" another 5 million dollars more from the sickest portion of the States population.
With zero in reimbursement from health care providers and a Doctors attestation that basically equates to; here go make your own medicine at all the risk and zero of the rights of lets say, the Opiate patients. How can Rhode Island possibly think its a great idea to further burden its most vulnerable citizens into more paperwork, more fees, and more over reach into the sacred privacy of a persons medical records while at the same time allow any person with no medical card to possess up to one ounce with almost zero repercussion other than a $194 fine. Almost makes you think they want people to just use Opiates for pain management doesn't it?
Why in 2018 with all the empirical knowledge on Cannabis legalization are we still forced to pay to play for our Legal Cannabis through what they call a "Medical Program". In an absurd 5 step process involving first a $200 doctors visit. Second your hit with the States $50 fee. Thirdly added to their database. Then you get to jump through the numerous other self discovered hoops all for a mostly harmless product that starting in July is available to every adult 21 and over in our neighboring Massachusetts and soon to be Connecticut. Finally, not to mention the extra $600 in tags should you still decide to grow for yourself and others.
The big fears are the "grey markets". A market that currently exists. A market that inevitably lawmakers created by not just taxing and regulating Cannabis, instead of just Decriminalizing it. Unfortunately whats not understood is that its out of state Cannabis being smuggled in from the west coast thats feeding the "street market".
When the price per lb of outdoor, potentially moldy cannabis in Oregon and California is only $300 and there is no alternative purchase locations in Rhode Island besides "the street" for "decriminalized" Cannabis, you get a thriving "street market" fueled by criminal activity across 25 state borders full of unsafely grown Cannabis.
Now picture 120,000 Rhode Island residents who admittedly are using Cannabis currently and the only 19,000 patients, thats a 9:1 ratio. 19,000 patients have 3 state provided locations to purchase and 2900 caregivers to choose from or the streets which the patient is protected wherever they get it by the law, including street dealers.
Each non card holder resident who used Cannabis this last year had thousands of unregulated options for purchase even including patients who can go to dispensaries and divert medical product to streets. If each of these non card holder users used only 6 ounces a year, thats 720,000 ounces, which is way low by the way.... Rhode Island currently has a current tax at $3 per gram, lets break down how much money that is...
720,000ounces x 28gram per ounce = 20,160,000 grams @ $3 per gram tax = $60,480,000 !!!!!!!!
Now wrap your head around the fact that we currently have this much Cannabis on our streets, we just don't get the taxes. Thats 60 million dollars!!! yes 60 million dollars in ethical taxes gained from responsible adults 21 years of age willing to purchase cannabis at state regulated shops.
Rhode Island would rather have 5 million from sick responsible adults instead of 60 million from the willing and able? Maybe its time this Election season to let these people know. Rhode Island is ready for a well regulated, Fully Legal, Recreational market..