Rhode Island House Speaker Says Marijuana Legalization Can’t Be Rushed After Senate Vote

MJ moment

The Rhode Island Senate might have passed a bill to legalize marijuana this week, but a top House lawmaker says his chamber needs more time to resolve differences between competing reform proposals. In an interview with The Boston Globe that was published on Thursday, House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi (D) was asked whether Rhode Island can “afford to wait” on legalization in light of cannabis-related developments in surrounding states like Connecticut and Massachusetts. “Yes, absolutely we can and we should [wait] because all of the proposals are very divergent,” he said, referring to the Senate bill, a separate House one and another measure filed by the governor. “All of the proposals I’ve seen—in my opinion, and I’ve only scratched the surface of them because there’s so many of them—really come from very strong advocates for either the cultivators or the dispensaries. I have to look at that and what’s good for the state.” “If we’re going to legalize recreational use of marijuana, we want to make sure the state gets its fair share,” the speaker said. Shekarchi said there are “several issues” that need to be addressed before adult-use legalization advances in the House. Principally, he said, lawmakers must closely examine how much revenue the state could collect under the diverging proposals. Social equity, licensing fees, labor agreements and home grow provisions are among the matters that still need to be settled before the speaker is comfortable moving a given reform bill, he said. Listen to the speaker discuss next steps for marijuana reform, starting around 5:55 into the audio below: “If we’re going to legalize this, does that mean that people who are in prison and convicted for marijuana possession should be having an automatic review of possible expungement? If we’re creating a whole new industry here, do we set…

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Source : Rhode Island House Speaker Says Marijuana Legalization Can’t Be Rushed After Senate Vote

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