State legislators in Rhode Island are considering whether their state should become the fifth in the nation to legalize marijuana. On May 10, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Providence, Thomas J. Tobin, issued a public commentary in opposition. Rev. Alexander E. Sharp, Executive Director of Clergy for a New Drug Policy, offers this letter in response.
On Saturday, December 5, 2015, CNDP was privileged to participate in the symposium “Ending the Drug War, Healing Our Communities: Cops, Docs, and Clergy Speaking with One Voice” in Providence, Rhode Island. Police officers, health care professionals, and clergy all spoke from distinct vantage points about the need to strengthen communities. You can read some of their insights below. We are grateful to Rev. Santiago Rodriguez and Gloria Dei Lutheran Church of Providence for hosting us.
By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp Over the past six months, I have made two trips to Rhode Island to help it become the fifth state to regulate and tax marijuana. I’ve even bet $20 that we will succeed this year. If so, it will be the first time this has been accomplished through legislative action rather than the ballot initiatives in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska. Neither the Speaker of the House nor the President of the Senate has yet called the bill – HB 5777 and SB 0510 – and time is running out. They are both aware that the bill would most likely pass, and that public support is close to 60% in favor. They have given no reason for their failure to act.