In a recent appearance on WPRI’s Newsmakers, Gov. Raimondo indicated that she will reintroduce a plan to legalize marijuana for adults in her budget proposal for the upcoming legislative session, which begins in early January.
Pointing to the General Assembly’s recent decision to add six new compassion centers, she said, “Last year we made a step forward with more medical [marijuana], and I think the next logical step is adult use.” She also referenced recent conversations with the governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut, indicating that pressure from neighboring states makes legalization more likely in Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts saw nearly half a billion dollars in retail sales at legal marijuana businesses over the past year, which equates to roughly $67 million in new tax revenue for the state. This figure exceeds previous projections from officials.
In other news, the Department of Business Regulation recently proposed new regulations for the state’s medical marijuana program, including a plan to implement a lottery system for awarding new compassion center licenses to qualified applicants. The public comment period for these rules will extend until December 21, and the department will hold a hearing on December 6. More details can be found here.
Though it is difficult to predict whether Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio will have the appetite for legalization in 2020, the pressure to act continues to mount.
Stay tuned for more updates and calls to action soon.
Wisconsin is rapidly becoming an island of backwards marijuana laws.
Minnesota and Illinois have both decriminalized marijuana and legalized medical cannabis. Meanwhile, in November, Michigan voters made their state the first in the Midwest to legalize marijuana for adults.
Gov. Tony Evers (D) has a bold vision to improve Wisconsin's marijuana laws. His budget, which will be released in late February, will propose decriminalization and expungement, along with a comprehensive medical cannabis program.
But Gov. Evers can't fix Wisconsin's outdated marijuana laws on his own. His proposal would have to pass the legislature, where Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) is opposed. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) has said he is "open to medical marijuana when it is prescribed by a doctor," but that Evers' proposal goes too far.
Then, share this message with friends and family so that they, too, can speak up for commonsense cannabis policies.