Rhode Island

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Rhode Island becomes 19th state to legalize cannabis


With the stroke of a pen, Rhode Island has joined its two neighboring states and 16 others in legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, becoming the 19th state in the country to end marijuana prohibition.

After months of negotiations between lawmakers, advocates, stakeholders and the governor’s office, and less than 24 hours after lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the legalization bill, Gov. Dan McKee signed the measure, which promises automatic expungement of past marijuana possession convictions and reserves a quarter of new retail store licenses for minority communities disproportionally hurt by the War on Drugs, reported the Providence Journal.


Rhode Island lawmakers approve weed legalization bill


The Rhode Island General Assembly passed legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis on Tuesday, making the state the 19th in the nation to end the prohibition of recreational pot.

The Rhode Island General Assembly approved legislation to legalize recreational pot on Tuesday, culminating years of work by lawmakers and activists to reform the state’s cannabis policy. Democratic Governor Dan McKee is expected to sign the legislation Wednesday afternoon, according to media reports, making Rhode Island the 19th state in the nation to legalize cannabis for use by adults.


Rhode Island lawmakers to vote on cannabis legalization


The Rhode Island legislature will consider rulings this week that would legalize recreational pot for adults.

Lawmakers in Rhode Island are expected to vote on cannabis policy reform this week, with legislative committees in the state Senate and House of Representatives scheduled to consider identical bills to legalize recreational pot for adults. 


Bill to legalize marijuana in RI could kill Middletown's pot prohibition. Here's how


The Middletown Town Solicitor recently summarized the status of recreational marijuana in the state, including the ability of the town to “opt-out” of recreational marijuana offerings.

On March 1, two lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced identical legislation that would allow for 33 retail licenses distributed in six zones statewide, among a slew of other caveats and provisions.

Town Solicitor Peter Regan, at the request of Town Councilor Terri Flynn, gave a general rundown of the proposed legislation and what it means for the town.


New cannabis legalization bill introduced in RI House, Senate



A new plan to legalize recreational cannabis in Rhode Island was introduced in the House and Senate Tuesday, kicking off what will be months of debate before a final bill is potentially approved.

The new legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Scott Slater and state Sen. Josh Miller, includes a new framework to oversee the cannabis industry modeled on the system in New York state.

“This is a great day,” Slater told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

“Last year we had some differences on our bills, but we’ve been able to come together and work collectively.”

The newly crafted plan is a result of talks between the two chambers but does not yet represent a compromise with Gov. Dan McKee.


Is legal adult-use cannabis finally coming to RI in 2022?

providence statue

Rhode Island House Speaker Joe Shekarchi seems to think so. While he has been quoted in local media saying that while the legislature is “still not there” on a final product, he is at least ready to say that “we’ve worked down to almost one issue that’s left.” That specific issue, it seems, is who will regulate the cannabis market should Rhode Island enact a cannabis legalization measure. The two options seem to be either a new independent commission or the existing state Department of Business Regulation (DBR). Last week, Governor McKee presented his Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Proposal, which included cannabis legalization and gave responsibility for regulating the new industry to the DBR. Legislative leaders have suggested a new department be created specifically to manage cannabis.


Rhode Island to Release New Medical Cannabis Dispensary Licenses

hands holding a marijuana leaf

Rhode Island’s Department of Business Regulation is rolling out some new medical dispensary licenses to better serve patients in the area.

After a series of delays and legal obstacles, the state of Rhode Island finally appears ready to dole out new licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.

The state’s Department of Business Regulation announced last week that it will commence a lottery this Friday for five new dispensary licenses. 

In what local television station WPRI described as a “highly choreographed” event, the lottery will take place at the Rhode Island Department of Administration in the capital city of Providence, with limited general seating available to the general public. The lottery will also be livestreamed via Zoom.


Medical cannabis lottery delayed for appeal in Rhode Island

State regulators say the lottery to award licenses to operate six new medical cannabis facilities has been delayed due to an ongoing appeal of a rejected lottery applicant.

The administrative appeal first delayed the lottery in the spring and now it will not happen the first week of August either, the Providence Journal reported.

Matthew Santacroce, chief of the Office of Cannabis Regulation within the Department of Business Regulation, said Tuesday that the lottery will not be scheduled until the appeal has run its course and it remains unclear how long that could take.

The new facilities will be dispersed around the state in six regions, joining the dispensaries in Providence, Portsmouth and Warwick.


Connecticut Legalized Recreational Cannabis, What States Is Next?

After passing a bill back and forth between the Senate and the House, and threats of a veto if certain provisions remained, Connecticut became the 18th state, when it legalized recreational cannabis this week. The question now, which state is next, and when can we expect it to happen?


After Connecticut legalizes marijuana, only 2 New England states now prohibit cannabis

After Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed the state legislature's bill legalizing recreational marijuana on Tuesday, eyes are now on Rhode Island and New Hampshire as the final holdouts in New England to legalize cannabis.

Some marijuana rights advocates told ABC News it's only a matter of time before the two states join their neighbors, given the millions in extra revenue from marijuana sales and the calls for criminal justice reform from their constituents.


"I think the pressure will be there, being islands of prohibition in the Northeast," DeVaughn Ward, the senior legislative counsel for the non-profit group the Marijuana Policy Project, told ABC News.


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