Gov. Raimondo says adult-use legalization in Rhode Island may be on the horizon

Nov 22, 2019 adult-use legalization, budget proposal, cannabis regulation, compassion centers, Connecticut, Department of Business Regulation, Gov. Gina Raimondo, legalization, lottery system, Massachusetts, medical cannabis, Medical Marijuana, Rhode Island, RI, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, Tax and Regulate, tax revenue, WPRI’s Newsmakers


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.