In the interview, Rice describes the decriminalization proposal – for which he is a co-sponsor – as “not an earth-shattering pivot that would turn our state on its ear or hurl us into a chaotic upheaval.”
“This is a simple, common sense, compassionate law that protects many residents,” Rice said in the report. “It levels the playing field so that Blacks, people of color, and those unable to afford the same legal representation as affluent offenders do not find themselves arrested, incarcerated and rendered unable to obtain work, housing or even student loans.”
Rice, along with Democratic Sens. Sandra Cunningham and Teresa Ruiz, introduced a bill on June 4, while another decriminalization measure was approved by the Assembly June 18. Rice is also a sponsor of that bill.
The measure would need 21 votes in the Senate, and a Globe vote count found lawmakers who do not support broad legalization would support the decriminalization bill. The Senate is led by Democrat Stephen Sweeney who supports comprehensive legalization but last year indicated he was “very skeptical” of decriminalization plans.