After months of negotiations among leaders in the General Assembly, Rhode Island is poised to pass a comprehensive cannabis legalization law this year
PROVIDENCE, RI — Earlier today, Rep. Scott Slater and Sen. Josh Miller, along with many cosponsors in the House and Senate, formally introduced a pair of identical bills to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults 21 and older in Rhode Island. The long-awaited legislation is the product of many months of discussions among top lawmakers in the state, including Senate President Dominic Ruggerio and Speaker of the House Joseph Shekarchi, who have both indicated they believe this to be the year Rhode Island joins 18 other states with adult-use cannabis legalization laws. The first committee hearing on the bill is expected to be scheduled toward the end of this month.
The legislation would:
The Marijuana Policy Project has worked with lawmakers and a broad coalition of organizations in the state to advance legalization in recent years. Jared Moffat, state campaigns manager for MPP, praised lawmakers for this latest step forward:
“We are grateful to Speaker Shekarchi, Senate President Ruggerio, and their staff for the many months of work that went into finding common ground and crafting a thoughtful proposal that will end the failed policy of cannabis prohibition and create many economic and social benefits for the state. We’re looking forward to the public discussion on this important issue, and we’re excited that Rhode Island appears poised to join 18 other states that have legalized cannabis for adults later this year.”
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee has previously expressed support for legalizing cannabis and included a separate legalization proposal in his omnibus budget bill introduced in January. In the coming weeks, MPP intends to work with legislators and other stakeholders to propose improvements to aspects of the General Assembly’s bill, including establishing a process for automated record clearance for past cannabis arrests and convictions.