Legislative leaders in the House and Senate have found common ground on a plan to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults
Yesterday, Rep. Scott Slater and Sen. Josh Miller, along with many cosponsors in the House and Senate, formally introduced a pair of identical bills (S 2430 and H 7593) to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults 21 and older in Rhode Island.
The long-awaited legislation is the product of many months of discussions among top lawmakers in the state, including Senate President Dominic Ruggerio and Speaker of the House Joseph Shekarchi, who have both indicated they believe this to be the year Rhode Island joins 18 other states with adult-use cannabis legalization laws. The first committee hearing on the bill is expected to be scheduled toward the end of this month.
The legislation would:
- Allow adults to possess and purchase up to one ounce of cannabis (and up to 10 ounces in a person’s residence) and cultivate up to three cannabis plants in their homes;
- Establish a three-member commission appointed by the governor and leaders of the General Assembly to oversee the regulation and licensing of cannabis businesses;
- Impose a cannabis retail excise tax of 10%, in addition to the normal sales tax rate of 7%, with another 3% local sales tax;
- Require that a quarter of all new retail licenses be awarded to applicants that qualify as social equity businesses and another quarter of new licenses to worker-owned cooperatives; and
- Create a social equity assistance fund to provide grants, job training programs, and social services for communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis criminalization.
A comprehensive summary of the proposal can be found here, while the full text of the measure can be found here.
Stay tuned for more updates as the pair of bills progress through the legislative process!