Rhode Island Governor Puts Marijuana Legalization Plan In Budget, Days After Lawmakers File Competing Plan

MJ moment

The governor of Rhode Island on Thursday unveiled his budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year, and it includes a plan to legalize marijuana in the state. The move comes two days after legislative leaders introduced their own bill to tax and regulate cannabis sales. While there are a number of differences, the lawmakers and administrative officials signaled that they intend to work together as they move through the process. Gov. Dan McKee’s (D) proposal calls for 25 marijuana retailers to be licensed each year for the first three years of implementation. Those would be awarded on a lottery basis, but five would be specifically given to minority-owned businesses, a category that also includes firms run by women. Additional licenses would be issued in the future based on demand. Sales would begin in April 2022. The plan calls for a “strictly regulated legal market for adult-use marijuana” that is “anchored in principles of equity and public health and safety,” an executive summary of the budget proposal says. “Prohibiting the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis to adults has proven to be an ineffective policy for the State of Rhode Island,” the text of the legislation itself states. “In the absence of a legal, tightly regulated market, an illicit cannabis industry has thrived, undermining the public health, safety and welfare of Rhode Islanders. Regional and national shifts in cannabis policy have increased access to legal cannabis and marijuana products for Rhode Islanders in other states, the sale of which benefits the residents of the providing state while providing no funds to the State of Rhode Island to address the public health, safety and welfare externalities that come with increased access to cannabis, including marijuana.” Cannabis sales would be taxed at 17 percent, which includes the state’s seven percent sales tax and…

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Source : Rhode Island Governor Puts Marijuana Legalization Plan In Budget, Days After Lawmakers File Competing Plan

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