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Poll says 57 percent of RI residents favor legalizing, regulating pot like alcohol

Public Policy Polling talked to 763 Rhode Islanders, and reports that 57 percent of Rhode Islanders are in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana like alcohol.

Regulate Rhode Island, a statewide coalition, gathered on Monday an alliance of 25 groups in support of legalizing marijuana at the state capitol.

Public Policy Polling talked to 763 Rhode Islanders, and reports that 57 percent of Rhode Islanders are in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana like alcohol.

That's up three percentage points from last year.

Rev. Al Sharp of Clergy of New Drug Policy agrees.

"The fact is we need to regulate and taxso, people involved and it can flourish," he said.

NBC 10 News hit the streets to find out what Rhode Islander residents think. The opinions were mixed.

"Personally I don't agree [that the state should legalize marijuana," said George Jaquez, while Mary Anne Sacchetti said, "Oh, I totally believe it should be legalized. Definitely."

Steve Winsor is against it, as he believes it would negatively impact youth.

"We have enough problems with young people and people that use that material right now," Winsor said.

Colorado paved the way for legalizing the drug. The state made more than $61 million in taxes and fees in the first year it legalized and regulated recreational marijuana.

Now, other states want to follow suit.

Regulate Rhode Island wants the "Marijuana Regulation Control and Taxation Act" passed sooner, rather than later, so the Ocean State can reap the most economic benefits.

"There's no reason why legislators should hold off any longer and let other states take advantage of this," said Jared Moffat of Regulate Rhode Island.

But, even supporters still have questions, including how to monitor impaired driving.

"I'd like to see it go through now, but I don't want to see people get hurt," said local resident Mary Anne Sacchetti. "So, I think it's more important to wait to get the proper information before we go forward."

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