Rhode Island Poised to Legalize Cannabis

Rhode Island Poised to Legalize Cannabis

After several years of fits and starts, Rhode Island is finally poised to pass a substantive cannabis legalization bill as soon as next week. An amended version of the previously-proposed cannabis bill is now on the fast track toward passage at the State House. Major developments in the amended bill include automatic expungement for past cannabis crimes, the creation of a Cannabis Control Commission, and the inception of retail sales as soon as December 2022. The amended bill was released Tuesday afternoon and approved Wednesday by both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Finance Committee. Having advanced through those committees, floor votes on the bills are expected to take place next week. One of the most significant changes from previous cannabis legalization bills in Rhode Island is a plan to adopt automatic expungement of prior civil or criminal marijuana possession charges (i.e. activities decriminalized by the current bill). The original 2022 legalization bill required those seeking expungement to request it from the courts, which raised numerous objections. The bill now poised for passage instead gives the Rhode Island courts until July 1, 2024, to automatically expunge past convictions, while allowing those who want to seek expungement sooner to request it. On Tuesday afternoon, Governor McKee’s office thanked legislative leaders for addressing his concerns about separation of powers in their new bill. “While this bill is different than the governor’s original proposal – it does accomplish his priorities of making sure legalization is equitable, controlled, and safe,” a McKee spokesperson said in an email announcement. “We look forward to reviewing the final bill that comes out of the General Assembly and signing legalization of adult-use cannabis into law.” Other highlights of the bill’s provisions: Legalizes the sale and possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis for adults ages 21…

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Source : Rhode Island Poised to Legalize Cannabis

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