House and Senate Committee members advanced legislation late yesterday, the “Rhode Island Cannabis Act,” to legalize the consumption, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of cannabis by adults. The two identical bills, S. 2430 and H. 7593, were approved by lawmakers with little opposition.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 9 to 1 in favor of the Act, while approved House Finance Committee members approved the Act by a margin of 21 to 2. Both measures now go to the House and Senate floors.
The Act would allow adult Rhode Islanders age 21 and up to possess, home-cultivate, and purchase limited amounts of cannabis. It also facilitates the automatic review and expungement of past criminal records. The Act also includes provisions for re-investing tax revenue from cannabis sales into those communities that were previously most harmed by prohibition, as well as programs to aid social equity applicants seeking to enter the market..
Regulatory oversight would be conducted by the newly created Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) and the Cannabis Office under the existing Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation. Retail sales would likely begin by December 1, 2022.
“This is an important first step in the process of ending all penalties for cannabis possession and ensuring Rhode Islanders have access to regulated and tested cannabis products, just like New Englanders already have in neighboring states,” says Jax James, NORML’s State Policy Manager.
You can do your part to support legalizing cannabis in the Ocean State by sending a pre-written letter urging your lawmakers to vote ‘yes’ on the Rhode Island Cannabis Act.