Rhode Island Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

MJ moment

The Rhode Island Senate on Tuesday approved a bill to legalize marijuana. The legislation, which cleared the chamber’s Judiciary Committee last week, passed in a 29-9 vote. Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey (D) and Health & Human Services Chairman Joshua Miller (D) are the lead sponsors of the measure, which they introduced in March, days before Gov. Dan McKee (D) came out with his own legalization proposal. “It is a historic day, as it is the first time a bill to legalize and regulate cannabis has reached the floor of either legislative chamber in Rhode Island,” Miller said before the vote. “It is important that we act expeditiously to enact a regulatory framework,” he added, noting policy changes in surrounding states such as Connecticut, where the state’s governor signed a legalization bill into law earlier on Tuesday. A third Rhode Island legalization measure was also recently filed on the House side by Rep. Scott Slater (D) and several cosponsors. But while the Senate moved forward with the leaders’ bill, House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi (D) recently signaled that legalization wouldn’t be taken up until the summer or fall. Meanwhile, the the House Finance Committee discussed the governor’s separate proposal to end prohibition at a hearing in April. The bill approved in the Senate on Tuesday would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis. They could also cultivate up to six plants for personal use. A Cannabis Control Commission would be established to regulate the market and issue business licenses. Marijuana would be subject to the state’s seven percent sales tax, in addition to a 10 percent special tax and a three percent local tax for jurisdictions that allow cannabis firms to operate in their area. Under a substitute amendment approved by the Judiciary Committee last week,…

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Source : Rhode Island Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

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