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.
Today, the Vermont Senate Appropriations Committee voted 4-3 to approve S. 241, a bill that would end marijuana prohibition for adults and create a regulated and taxed system for marijuana production and sale. The bill has already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
Next, S. 241 will move to the Senate floor for a vote by the full Senate, which will probably happen later this week. If it passes there, it will go to the House of Representatives, and the committee process will begin anew after the legislature takes a break for Town Meeting Week (February 29 to March 4).
Last week, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and two former attorneys general, Jerome Diamond and Kimberly Cheney, sent a letter to legislators encouraging them to move forward with the proposal to end prohibition and regulate marijuana.
Earlier today, Vermont Public Radio released the results of a new poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute that found 55% of Vermonters support passing a law to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Only 32% said they are opposed. The survey of 895 Vermonters was conducted February 3-17.
If you are a Vermont resident, please send them an email urging them to support S. 241.
This afternoon, the Minnesota Senate Finance Committee approved the medical marijuana bill, authored by Sen. Scott Dibble, 14-7. This was the last committee the bill needed to move through. It now goes to the entire Senate for a floor vote, which could happen as early as tomorrow.
Polling shows that Minnesotans across the state, of all ages and from all political persuasions, think their neighbors should be able to use medical marijuana under the advice of their doctors. However, some lawmakers are hesitant to support the issue, thinking a compassionate vote in support of medical marijuana will leave them politically vulnerable.