We’re just over halfway through this year’s legislative session, and the fate of legalization remains uncertain. A clear majority of Rhode Islanders are ready to end the failed policy of prohibition, but lawmakers may not act unless they hear from their constituents. Help us move the issue forward and contact your state legislators.
Rhode Island will only dig itself into a deeper hole if the General Assembly fails to pass a legalization law this year. Multiple states around us are moving forward with marijuana policy reform legislation, and if Rhode Island becomes an island of prohibition, the state will lose out on an opportunity to gain a foothold in the fastest growing economic sector in the country.
Gov. Raimondo’s proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana could be improved in several ways, and as we advocate for passage of a legalization law this year, we must also urge the General Assembly to adopt amendments around medical marijuana patient access, competition and fairness within the market, and provisions to address the historical injustices of marijuana prohibition.
We need supporters of sensible marijuana policy to take action. Without a broad push for legalization, Rhode Island will continue spinning its wheels while Massachusetts, Connecticut, and other New England states move forward. We need progress this year, and you can help make it happen by sending a message to your state legislators right now.
Legislative discussions on Gov. Raimondo's proposal to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use were front and center last week at the State House. On Tuesday, the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Article 20 of the governor's budget bill, which includes provisions to establish a regulatory system for adult-use marijuana sales. The House Finance Committee held its own hearing on the same legislation on Wednesday.
The original language of the proposal has been amended. To read an updated summary of Article 20, click here. Leaders of Regulate Rhode Island and the Marijuana Policy Project testified in support of the governor's plan, while highlighting serious concerns about some of its provisions. Overall, our priorities in advocating for amendments are:
- Ensuring the medical and adult-use markets are open, fair, and competitive;
- Protecting safe and affordable access for medical marijuana patients;
- Allowing adults to cultivate a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes; and
- Adding provisions to promote social equity, encourage diversity in the marketplace, and address the historical injustices of marijuana prohibition.
Our aim is to see Rhode Island pass the best legalization law possible this year. To do that, we're going to need your help, so please take action and send a message to your state legislators.
On Sunday, Gov. Raimondo announced that she will be including a plan to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use in her upcoming budget. This endorsement represents an exciting breakthrough in our years-long effort to end marijuana prohibition in Rhode Island.
Detailed legislation will be available soon. For now, what we know is that the governor aims to establish the most tightly regulated legalization program in the country. Check out this article to read more about the plan.
While we may not agree with all aspects of the proposal – including the ban on home cultivation – we commend the governor for spearheading this initiative. In the coming months, we expect a robust discussion within the General Assembly, and there may be opportunities to amend the legislation.
One thing is for sure: Legalization will finally have the hearing it deserves this year. It's going to be an interesting session, so be sure to stay tuned for more updates on how you can help ensure that legalization crosses the finish line this year.
Last week, Rhode Island’s 2019 General Assembly session officially commenced. It’s time to start putting pressure on legislators to make legalizing marijuana for adult use a top priority this year.
Now that state-licensed marijuana stores have opened in Massachusetts, and Connecticut’s new governor has pledged to make ending prohibition a top priority, there’s much speculation about whether Rhode Island will move forward this year.
Lawmakers are unlikely to act without pressure from their constituents. Take one minute to send your elected officials an email and let them know why it’s time to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.
We’ve been building momentum for legalization in Rhode Island for years, and we have a good feeling about this legislative session.
Let’s make it happen in 2019.
R.I.: Ask friends and family in Seekonk, Mass. to vote NO on proposal to ban marijuana facilities TOMORROW
A local special election will determine the fate of marijuana facilities in Seekonk, Massachusetts tomorrow, Tuesday, December 4. Please help us spread the word and make sure your friends and family vote NO on the proposed ban! Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. at Seekonk High School, 261 Arcade Avenue.
The vote is taking place despite the fact that a proposal to ban adult-use marijuana retail and cultivation facilities was rejected at a recent town meeting on November 19. Town officials, however, have insisted that a special election is still necessary.
Tonight, residents of Newburyport will also have an opportunity to voice their opinion on a possible ballot question to ban marijuana businesses at the town meeting, which starts at 7:00 p.m.
Please alert people you know who live in either of these towns and share the news on social media!
A new survey confirms that an overwhelming majority of Rhode Island voters support legalizing marijuana for adults. The poll, commissioned by WPRI 12 and Roger Williams University and conducted by Fleming & Associates, found that 56% of respondents favor ending marijuana prohibition, while only 37% were against the idea. Another 7% were undecided.
Leaders in the General Assembly have consistently refused to allow legislators to vote on marijuana legalization in recent years. This new poll provides further evidence that these politicians are out of touch with the Rhode Island people.
Legal marijuana sales will start in Massachusetts any day now, and the new Rhode Island legislative session begins in January 2019. With the public solidly on the side of reform, there is no excuse for delay, and there is no excuse for the General Assembly to not vote on legalization in this upcoming year.
The Marijuana Policy Project and Regulate Rhode Island are planning to mobilize constituents and organize an effective campaign to call on the General Assembly to vote on a legalization bill during the upcoming session.
Stay tuned for more updates soon!
Great news! The Department of of Health has announced that Rhode Island families can now access medical marijuana to treat autism. The decision was issued this week after a petition was filed in April to add autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.
The announcement imposes some stipulations for physicians interested in recommending medical marijuana for patients with ASD, including that they first try FDA-approved medications and CBD products. The statement can be read in full here.
The Health Department held a public hearing on ASD and medical marijuana in August. At the hearing, Nicole Cervantes, a mother of a son with ASD, testified that CBD had significantly improved her child’s condition. “He has been able to focus more,” she said. “He no longer bangs his head.”
In recent years, families across the country have spoken out about how medical marijuana has helped minimize the worst symptoms of ASD. Rhode Island now joins seven other states that make some allowance for medical marijuana in the treatment of autism.
This is a great step forward for Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program. Let’s keep working to make further improvements to the state’s marijuana policies.
The 2018 Rhode Island legislative session recently came to a disappointing close. By extending its unproductive marijuana study commission into next year and failing to expand the number of medical marijuana compassion centers, the General Assembly has once again ignored the overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders who support sensible marijuana policy reform.
If you are a Rhode Island resident...
The best way to make your voice heard now is to become active in local elections. When candidates hear from voters about an issue on the campaign trail, they’re far more likely to take action when elected.
If you see a campaign event happening in your district, attend and ask candidates if they will push for legislation to legalize marijuana. Make sure they know that your support for them depends, in part, on their support for ending the senseless policy of marijuana prohibition.
During the 2019 legislative session, MPP plans to launch a robust legalization effort in Rhode Island. Getting involved in local elections is the most effective way for you to help us lay the groundwork for victory next year.
Sen. Joshua Miller (D - Cranston) is once again submitting a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana in Rhode Island. As marijuana businesses are poised to open their doors in Massachusetts this summer, Sen. Miller hopes his colleagues will understand the wisdom in acting now.
“Legal marijuana sales will be available to Rhode Islanders as soon as Massachusetts retailers start offering it in July,” Sen. Miller said. “But Massachusetts will keep the revenue from the purchases when Rhode Islanders cross the border to get it.”
This legislation would make it legal for adults 21 and older to grow and possess limited amounts of marijuana. It would also set up a system for the Department of Business Regulation to oversee the licensing and operation of legal marijuana businesses. Most importantly, Sen. Miller’s bill would end the failed approach of punishing adults who choose to use marijuana, a policy which has caused much harm in Rhode Island.
If you are a Rhode Island resident, please call your state senator and representative and ask them to push for a vote on Sen. Miller’s bill.
Three out of five Rhode Islanders agree that it’s time to legalize marijuana for adult use. The conversation that should be taking place among state policymakers is not if Rhode Island should legalize and regulate marijuana. They should be discussing how it will be done.
Yesterday, we published a comprehensive new report addressing the best way for Rhode Island to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana. We are sharing this document with lawmakers in an effort to accelerate the process and move us closer to enacting real policy.
Although three New England states have already ended marijuana prohibition, Rhode Island’s state legislature continues to delay serious consideration of legalization. Unfortunately, lawmakers are now thinking about extending the legalization study commission established last year, which will only delay progress. However, another bill has been introduced which would put the issue to the voters.
We need the General Assembly to stop dragging its feet and take action. If you are a Rhode Island resident, please contact your state senator and representative and urge them to take action this year on marijuana policy reform.