PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — In another sign of tolerance for America’s most widely used illegal drug, Rhode Island lawmakers are reviewing legislation that would legalize marijuana for anyone over the age of 21.
Lawmakers heard testimony on the bill Wednesday. It would make Rhode Island the first state to legalize pot and impose alcohol-like regulations and taxes on production and sale of the drug.
Rep. Edith Ajello, a Providence Democrat and the bill’s primary sponsor, said legalization would save time and money in the courts, make drug smugglers obsolete and raise new revenue for the state.
Other lawmakers argue the state should instead replace criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a $150 civil fine.
Wednesday’s hearing came a day after officials announced three authorized medical marijuana dispensaries.
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