Top Rhode Island Senator Says Lawmakers Are Discussing A Marijuana Legalization Compromise This Summer

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The top leader of the Rhode Island Senate says negotiations on a compromise bill to legalize marijuana will continue this summer, and he anticipates action following Labor Day in September. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D) told WPRI-TV on Friday that he’s not disappointed the House hasn’t advanced legalization legislation yet and that “what we really wanted to do was send it over and have them take a look at it” when his chamber passed a cannabis reform measure last month. “The governor has one [legalization bill], the House has one, and we always knew it was something that we were not going to do during this session,” he said, referring to the legislative period before lawmakers finished the annual budget and left for the summer. “But hopefully we can sit down during the summer and work something out.” The Senate was able to get its legalization bill passed on the floor before the budget, but House leadership has insisted that more time is needed to reconcile the competing measures. House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi (D) said last week that while he feels reform is “inevitable” in Rhode Island and bound to happen “soon,” he plans to continue negotiations to merge competing reform proposals over the summer with the goal of passing a bill in the fall. Ruggerio, the Senate leader, said that “if and when we come back in the fall—which I know we probably will because we have to [confirm judicial nomination]—I don’t know what the House is going to do.” “But hopefully if we work something out,” he said, “they might be amenable to coming back and addressing that particular issue.” Watch Ruggerio’s marijuana comments, starting around 1:00 into the video below: But he tempered expectations about the timing of reform advancing, saying it would happen “well after Labor…

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