Rhode Island


Many expected Rhode Island to legalize recreational marijuana this year. What happened?

Marijuana advocates had high hopes for Rhode Island this year — optimistic that the state would follow in the footsteps of its northern neighbor and legalize marijuana for all adults. But a different narrative played out in New England’s smallest state when lawmakers left out recreational marijuana from the budget unveiled last week, and decided only to increase the number of medical marijuana businesses.


R.I. demand for medical marijuana skyrocketing

While state lawmakers consider legalizing recreational pot this year, sales of medical marijuana continue to hit new highs.

The reason isn’t just that more people are ailing, state regulators say.

The state’s three medical marijuana dispensaries are on pace to sell about $56 million worth of medicinal pot in fiscal 2019, said Norman Birenbaum, the state’s top marijuana regulator. That’s $17.8 million, or 46.6 percent, more than in fiscal year 2018.

And that year itself was record-breaking, with $38.2 million worth of pot sold, a third more than in fiscal 2017.


Rhode Island's recreational marijuana proposal would be one of the strictest in the nation

Yesterday Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo introduced her plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, writes Joseph Misulonas. However, the governor said she did so "reluctantly," and that may explain why Rhode Island's legalization proposal would be one of the strictest in the country.


Rhode Island governor to include recreational marijuana in budget proposal

Rhode Island may be the next state in New England to make recreational marijuana a reality following Governor Gina Raimondo’s announcement that she will call for legalization in her budget proposal for 2019.

Raimondo spoke with sources earlier in the week and said that her decision to include provisions for legalization is met with reluctance but that it’s the most realistic way forward as more states choose to legalize.

“I have resisted this for the four years I’ve been governor,” Raimondo told the Providence Journal. “Now, however, things have changed, mainly because all of our neighbors are moving forward [with marijuana legalization].”


RI Health Department considering medical marijuana for opioid dependency

 The Rhode Island Department of Health has scheduled a public hearing to discuss the possibility of using medical marijuana to treat opioid dependency.

In October, B & B Medical Marijuana Evaluation Center in Warwick sent a petition to the department.

"It was their contention that there are people who suffer chronic pain, so if they have medical marijuana as an option, it means perhaps they wouldn't need to be on opioids and could transition off of opioids onto medical marijuana," DOH spokesperson Joseph Wendelken said.

About 336 people fatally overdosed in 2016; 323 people in 2017 and 220 people died between January and September 2018.


Legalization in Rhode Island may be on the horizon

Could Rhode Island be the next New England state to legalize marijuana? It’s a possibility that seems more likely than ever, given the latest moves toward legalization that have happened in the region. Massachusetts, Rhode Island’s next door neighbor, just opened its first two recreational dispensaries last month, and Vermont became the ninth state to legalize marijuana last July.


Rhode Island approves medical marijuana as autism treatment

Rhode Island now allows medical cannabis therapies as a treatment option for those living with autism. The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) approved on Tuesday the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for autism. The decision is effective immediately and is “a final action of RIDOH, subject to judicial approval,” according to a report from local media.


Rhode Island governor signs marijuana expungement bill into law

Legislation allowing those with past marijuana convictions to have the charges expunged (removed) from their criminal record has been signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo (D).

House Bill 8355 and companion measure Senate Bill 2447 allows those with past convictions for crimes involving the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana to petition the court for an order of expungement. It states, “[W]here the court has determined that all conditions of the original criminal sentence have been completed, … the court [will] order the expungement without cost to the petitioner.” The law took effect immediately upon passage,

In Rhode Island, the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana has been decriminalized since 2013.


Rhode Island: Compassion center cuts in House budget benefit monopolies over patients

Buried under mounds of drama surrounding the House budget proposal, up for a vote on the floor Friday afternoon, those considering opening a medical marijuana dispensary in the state can find bad news and a rate hike to make your head spin.

The House has stubbornly rebuked Gov. Raimondo’s previous proposal to increase the number of dispensaries in the state from 3 to 15, and it has raised the licensing fees those current dispensaries are required to pay from $5,000 to $250,000—an increase 50 times over.


From Rhode Island to Alaska, banks are still causing headaches for the cannabis industry

Federal marijuana prohibition impacts everyone in the newly legal field, from nationwide firms down to individuals simply trying to make a living in the sector.


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