Rhode Island Lawmakers Near Marijuana Legalization Deal, But Governor Not Sold On Key Provision

MJ moment

Key Rhode Island lawmakers say they are nearing an agreement on a marijuana legalization bill that they plan to introduce within days. But one part of the deal might jeopardize support from the governor. Legislators have been in talks for months to reconcile competing legalization proposals that have been brought forward by the House, Senate and governor’s office. Many issues have been resolved over the course of negotiations, but the question of who should be in charge of regulating the program—an existing agency or a newly created body—has been a sticking point. Lawmakers are now signaling that the best route to satisfy both sides would be to create a compromise approach where a state agency like the Department of Business Regulation (DBR) and a new independent cannabis commission would each play a role. House Speaker Joseph Sherkarchi (D) said in a recent interview with The Boston Globe that lawmakers “have come together on a framework that will probably be introduced in mid-January.” That will likely include a proposal to create a “hybrid model” for regulating the market. But Gov. Dan McKee (D), who proposed having DBR itself regulate the cannabis industry in legalization legislation he filed last year, hasn’t yet signed off on the hybrid idea, Rep. Scott Slater (D) told Marijuana Moment. That said, “if we put a bill that most people are behind,” the lawmaker doesn’t expect a veto. “I think we should have a bill soon,” Slater, who filed a bill to end cannabis prohibition last year, said. Sen. Josh Miller (D), sponsor of one legalization proposal that was approved in the Senate last year, told Marijuana Moment that he agreed that lawmakers “should have a bill very soon with a structure very close to” what the speaker described. Miller’s legislation had proposed creating a new cannabis commission…

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Source : Rhode Island Lawmakers Near Marijuana Legalization Deal, But Governor Not Sold On Key Provision

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