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Rhode Island: Marijuana Legalization Measure Introduced

Update: Several lawmakers are now working on a compromise approach which would enact several provisions of legalization similar to Vermont this year and then let decisions on issues like edibles, product testing, business licensing and local opt-out be triggered by a study commission's recommendations.

Update: Members of the House Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced H. 5551 on May 17, but failed to call The Adult Use of Cannabis Act for a vote. The study bill now awaits action on the House floor while H. 5555 is likely dead for this session.

Update: Sen. Joshua Miller, D-Cranston, a lead sponsor on the Rhode Island legalization bill, said he has “about three alternatives already in my back pocket to get this done one way or another”

Update: H. 5551, to establish a study commission to examine marijuana legalization, is scheduled to be heard May 12.

Update: H. 5555 was heard on April 11 but was "held for futher study."

Update: House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s office says it is unlikely that the legislation would get a floor vote in the House. 

Update: The Senate version of The Adult Use of Cannabis Act was introduced on March 2. It is SB 420. (Seriously, it's SB420.)

A coalition of Rhode Island lawmakers has reintroduced marijuana legalization legislation in the House, H. 5555: The Adult Use of Cannabis Act

The bill will allow adults 21 and older to possess cannabis and will establish a framework for businesses to cultivate and distribute marijuana. While the language is similar to that of previous bills that have failed to come to a vote, lawmakers this year believe that Rhode Island is ready to catch up to its northeast neighbors.

A majority of Rhode Island residents, about 60 percent, support legalization and Jared Moffat, Director of Regulate Rhode Island, believes: “It’s time for Rhode Island to look very seriously at this issue and pass a bill. Otherwise, we risk falling behind those other states.” 

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