Rhode Island marijuana laws

Voters in 31 municipalities will decide at the ballot box this November whether or not to license marijuana-related retailers in their communities.

The towns voting on measures are: Barrington, Bristol, Burrillville, Charlestown, Coventry, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, Gloucester, Hopkinton, Jamestown, Johnston, Lincoln, Little Compton, Middletown, Narragansett, Newport, New Shoreham (Block Island), North Kingstown, North Providence, North Smithfield, Richmond, Skittett, Smithfield, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Warren, Westerly, West Greenwich, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.

State lawmakers enacted legislation in May legalizing the personal use and licensed retail sale of marijuana to those age 21 or older. Under the law, municipalities were provided with the opportunity to decide whether to opt out of marijuana-related sales and revenue. Voters in the towns listed above will decide ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the ballot question: “Will new cannabis-related licenses be issued in (that municipality) to businesses involved in the cultivation, manufacturing, laboratory testing and retailing of adult recreational use cannabis?”

Municipalities that have not elected to put the question before voters this fall cannot impose local prohibitions on retailers.

Commenting on the impending votes, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Marijuana sales are already taking place in every town in Rhode Island. The question before voters this November is whether they want these transactions to take place in a safe, above-ground environment or if they want to keep these markets unregulated and underground. In the former, cannabis sales take place in licensed establishments, consumers have access to lab-tested products of known quality and purity, and tax revenues from these transactions are redirected back into the local community. In the latter, consumers solicit unlicensed operators who are not required to check ID, who are not required to test their products for purity or potency, and who most certainly don’t pay taxes.”

State officials are anticipated to begin licensing commercial marijuana operations in December.

Additional information on marijuana-related initiatives this November is available from NORML’s Election Central.

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