Rhode Island’s Likely Next Governor Backs Private Legal Marijuana Model Over State-Run Market

MJ moment

It appears increasingly likely that Rhode Island will pursue a standard system of marijuana legalization with licensed private businesses instead of a unique state-run model, with the likely next governor announcing on Thursday for the first time that he supports ending prohibition and that he favors an “entrepreneurial strategy.” That’s a departure from current Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), who has pushed for the state itself to run a legal cannabis market. Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee (D), who as recently as 2019 said he did not favor legalization, will replace Raimondo if she’s confirmed as President-elect Joe Biden’s commerce secretary. Asked about legalization at a news conference on Thursday, McKee said, “I think it’s time that that happens.” “It’s got to be regulated, but I think it’s time that that happens,” he said. When pressed on whether he backs Raimondo’s state-run approach for cannabis, McKee replied that he’s “more leaning towards an entrepreneurial strategy there to let that roll that way.” Watch McKee discuss his position on marijuana legalization below:  Raimondo included the state-run marijuana proposal in a budget plan last year, but lawmakers did not enact it. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D) has also signaled that he’d prefer a traditional commercial market, saying, “I don’t think the state should be in that type of business” and that Rhode Island should have a private industry “very similar to Massachusetts.” Ruggerio also said he’s put Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey (D) and Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Chair Josh Miller (D) in charge of developing legislative language for the reform this year. Miller has led the push to legalize in prior sessions, and McCaffrey has said he supports a traditional commercial market. — Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and…

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