Gov. Raimondo eyes legalizing marijuana as Mass. considers ballot question

By: Rebecca Turco

Email: rturco@abc6.com

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Gov. Gina Raimondo is eyeing whether Rhode Island should legalize recreational marijuana as neighboring Massachusetts considers a ballot question to do just that.

"Let’s see what happens there and then we’ll figure out what we need to do,” she told ABC6 News. “I’m open to it but I have a lot of concerns."

Recent polls show it’s more and more likely that voters in Massachusetts will approve the pot ballot question. Raimondo is reviewing the pros and cons about how the state should move forward if that happens.

“[Legalizing marijuana] could potentially be a great deal of revenue for the state, which we need,” she explained. “It’s money we could invest in our schools and rebuilding Rhode Island. But for me, the biggest risk and one that we would need to think about, is how do we keep our kids safe."

That’s also a big concern for Mike Cerullo, who is behind the grassroots group “What’s the Rush, Rhode Island?” He’s aiming to pump the breaks on legalizing marijuana, calling it, "A decision that will essentially be irreversible, will have major impacts on our culture as a community…[and] will have a major impact on the next generations of youth."

Cerullo wants statistics – years more of it – from states that have already legalized the drug before even considering bringing it here. "I think that that would be fool-hearted for us to try to do it based solely on what Massachusetts does."

Raimondo says the framework already in place for medical marijuana in Rhode Island would make for a smoother transition to recreational use.

Cerullo feels there’s more work to be done, urging both sides to keep the conversation going.

© WLNE-TV 2016