Democratic presidential challenger; Independent RI Governor; Republican Senator (1999-2007)
Uruguay is leading the way on legalizing & regulating pot
"Uruguay is leading the way on legalization, and taxing and regulating, and Colorado and Washington here in this country. These are all interesting, positive experiments in my view." Iowa candidate's forum, August 29, 2015
"We'll see what
comes out of the legislature. We're just still putting in the medical marijuana component and we'll certainly see what's happening in Colorado. Certainly the revenue is enticing for all governors.
Somebody was saying to me back with the bad weather we've had back home, and all the potholes, we should have the revenue go to infrastructure. 'Pot for potholes.'" The Huffington Post, February 24, 2014
"I think it should be an international
discussion over our drug policy, whether its winning or loosing the war on drugs, and the destabilizing effect the illicit drug trade has. It should be an international discussion: is this working?" YouTube, April 2013
Let's take it step by step. We want to see how it's working in Colorado. Certainly, the revenue is enticing for all governors. Somebody was saying to me with the bad weather we've had back home and all the potholes,
we should have the revenue go to infrastructure--pot for potholes. Fix up our roads and bridges and fill our potholes.
Source: Green Rush Daily 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls
, Jul 16, 2015
Decriminalized small amounts of marijuana as governor
Chafee would decriminalize possession of small amounts. From the governor's desk in Rhode Island, Chafee signed legislation that decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, making possession of any amount lower than an ounce punishable by
a fine instead of as a criminal charge. Last year, Chafee said there is appeal in increased state revenues from legalizing marijuana and he wants to watch how things progress in states like Colorado where the law has changed.
Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series
, Jun 3, 2015
Legalize medical marijuana to relieve pain
Medical organizations throughout the country including the Rhode Island Medical Society and the American Medical Association have come to recognize the potential benefits of marijuana for medical use. Patients, many of whom are in tremendous pain,
stand to experience some relief. Governor Gregoire and I are taking this step to urge the Federal Government to consider allowing the safe, reliable, regulated use of marijuana for patients who are suffering.
Source: Rhode Island 2011 gubernatorial press release
, Nov 30, 2011
I doubt our culture would allow legalizing hard drugs
In 2002, in Uruguay, I met with President Jorge Batlle, who insisted that our decades-old battle against the narcotics trade was not working. He praised our efforts but urged us to consider legalizing drugs instead.
President Batlle advocated the
libertarian approach: legalize drugs to reduce their street value and put the cartels out of business, then regulate and tax those drugs as we do tobacco and alcohol. I doubt that our culture would allow that.
Most Americans do not want heroin and crack cocaine sold on store shelves as if they were no more addictive or dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol.
We will probably have this debate in the US, but not because Latin America is having it. The debate
will come when we can no longer avoid confronting the destabilizing heroin trade in Afghanistan.
At some point we will have to acknowledge that our new democratic ally in the war on terror is on the opposite side in our war on drugs.
The Congress recently approved President Clinton’s $1.3 billion aid request to fund “Plan Colombia,” which is aimed at promoting stability in the strategically important nation. On February 25th, Chafee -- Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Narcotics and Terrorism -- convened a hearing to discuss the wisdom of Clinton’s request. Chafee will use the one-day trip to Cartagena, to discuss the prospects and implementation of “Plan Colombia”.