Marijuana Legalization ‘Inevitable,’ Top Rhode Island Lawmakers Say, But It Might Not Happen This Year

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The top lawmakers in Rhode Island’s House and Senate both say marijuana legalization in “inevitable” in the state—but nevertheless, there’s still uncertainty about the prospects of passing the reform this year. As the legislature considers separate legalization proposals from the governor and legislative leaders, both House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi (D) and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D) have said that the writing is on the wall when it comes to ending prohibition. That said, concerns about the certain provisions of the measures have left the leaders unsure of when exactly marijuana prohibition could end. “I am not philosophically opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana,” Shekarchi told The Providence Journal this week. “I don’t want people to get that impression, because I am not.” However, the specifics of the legislation have faced opposition, creating “a lot of uncertainty around it.” Legalization is “inevitable” and “going to happen,” he said, but the deal isn’t done yet, in part because legislators need to nail down the rules and regulations around licensing, taxation and the role of the state’s existing medical cannabis market. The speaker said in a separate interview that while the House Finance Committee is slated to take up Gov. Daniel McKee’s (D) legalization proposal on Thursday, it’s “very possible it might not get done this year.” A competing legalization bill—one that was put together by Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey (D) and a key chairman at the behest of Ruggerio—is also in play this session. “As far as marijuana goes, I want to be steady and slow. I want to study it more, and take a deliberative approach,” Shekarchi said. “I’m not in a rush to do it.” Ruggerio echoed the speaker’s point and characterized the reform move as “inevitable” in an interview with the Journal. But while advocates would generally prefer…

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Source : Marijuana Legalization ‘Inevitable,’ Top Rhode Island Lawmakers Say, But It Might Not Happen This Year

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