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R.I.: Legalization on the agenda for a likely fall session

Jul 06, 2021

cannabis legalization, cannabis legalization proposals, fall session, Gov. Dan McKee, legalization, Rhode Island, Rhode Island Senate, RI, Sen. Josh Miller, Speaker of the House Joe Shekarchi, special legislative session, The Providence Journal, unified plan


Later this year, Rhode Island could become the 20th state in the nation to approve a law that legalizes cannabis for adults. Though the clock ran out in the regularly scheduled legislative session as lawmakers adjourned late last week, there’s still a good chance Rhode Island will end cannabis prohibition before the end of 2021. 

Earlier in June, for the first time ever, a bill to legalize cannabis for adults passed in a legislative chamber of the Rhode Island General Assembly, when a proposal sponsored by longtime reform champion Sen. Josh Miller passed the state Senate 29-9. 

Previously in the legislative session, Gov. Dan McKee and leaders in the House also introduced separate proposals to legalize cannabis, though those bills did not advance out of their respective committees. Each of the proposals differ in how they would regulate Rhode Island’s adult-use cannabis market, and lawmakers will need to reach a consensus in order to move forward. 

The good news is that Speaker of the House Joe Shekarchi has told The Providence Journal recently that cannabis legalization is one of his “summer projects,” and other top lawmakers have indicated that they think a unified plan can emerge in time to pass cannabis legalization in a special legislative session slated for this fall.

It’s an exciting time for our movement. Eight states have legalized cannabis for adults in the last eight months — and if I were betting, I’d say that Rhode Island is the odds on favorite to be next.

Thank you for supporting sensible cannabis policy reforms, and stay tuned for more updates later this summer.