Rhode Island Lawmakers Approve Weed Legalization Bill

Rhode Island Lawmakers Approve Weed Legalization Bill
High Times

The Rhode Island General Assembly approved legislation to legalize recreational pot on Tuesday, culminating years of work by lawmakers and activists to reform the state’s cannabis policy. Democratic Governor Dan McKee is expected to sign the legislation Wednesday afternoon, according to media reports, making Rhode Island the 19th state in the nation to legalize cannabis for use by adults. After lawmakers passed the bill, Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey thanked his colleagues for their work on the issue, which has resulted in a recreational pot legalization bill to be introduced in the General Assembly every year since 2011. “This is a truly momentous day for Rhode Island. I’m deeply grateful to Senator Miller for his years of hard work and leadership on this issue, and I’m incredibly proud to have been part of reaching this point,” McCaffrey said, as quoted by the Providence Journal. “Ending cannabis prohibition helps us right past wrongs while creating new opportunities for all Rhode Islanders. This is the right move, at the right time, for our state.” The legislation legalizes possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by adults aged 21 and older. Possession by adults of up to 10 ounces is permitted in a private home, as is the cultivation of up to three mature and three immature cannabis plants. The bill also includes provisions to expunge past convictions for cannabis possession offenses including civil violations, misdemeanors, and felonies. According to an analysis of the impact of the legislation by representatives of the state court system, as many as 27,000 cases where weed possession was the only charge are eligible for expungement. Court spokesman Craig Berke said last week that “thousands more” cases in which cannabis possession was one of multiple charges could also qualify for relief. The bill gives the state’s courts…

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