For Immediate Release

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Mike Meno, MPP assistant director of communications 202-905-2030 or

Harvard Economist: Decriminalizing Marijuana Could Save Rhode Island $11 Million Annually

Taxing and Regulating Marijuana Could Provide State With Up to $48 Million Per Year, According to Testimony Expected Thursday

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Tomorrow,
Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron will testify before the state's
Marijuana Prohibition Study Commission and explain how changing the
state's current marijuana policies could save tens of millions of
dollars annually, and even possibly generate additional tax revenue.

According to Miron's estimates, reducing the
penalty for the possession of small amounts of marijuana to a civil
fine would save Rhode Island roughly $11.1 million per year in reduced
expenditures on police. Miron also estimates that taxing and regulating
marijuana would save the state roughly $40.5 million per year in
reduced expenditures on police, prosecutors, judges and prisons. Taxing
and regulating marijuana could also generate roughly $7.6 million per
year in new tax revenue, according to Miron.

"Professor Miron's estimates illustrate just
one of the many reasons why Rhode Island lawmakers should consider
changing the state's disastrous prohibition on the nation's largest
cash crop," said Robert Capecchi, a legislative analyst with the
Marijuana Policy Project. "As lawmakers examine the economically
unsound and wasteful policies that unnecessarily arrest, prosecute and
incarcerate thousands of individuals simply for using a substance that
is safer than alcohol, I hope they pay particular attention to
Professor Miron's findings, especially in these tough economic times."

         WHAT: Meeting of Rhode Island's Marijuana Prohibition Study Commission


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         WHO: Prof. Jeffrey Miron, Department of Economics at Harvard University

         WHEN: Thursday, March 4, at 5 p.m.

         WHERE: Room 212 in the State House


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With more than 26,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit

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