Marijuana at center of protest, hearing at RI Statehouse

Medical marijuana rally outside RI Statehouse_281906

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Marijuana was a subject of conversation both inside and outside the Rhode Island Statehouse on Tuesday.

Demonstrators held a protest against a proposed tax on medical marijuana, claiming the plan would have a devastating impact on users and caregivers.

A provision in Gov. Gina Raimondo’s budget proposal would increase fees and regulation of medical marijuana. Under the plan, patients would have to pay $150 per plant and caregivers would have to pay $350 per plant, while the number of plants patients can grow would be cut in half.

The plan is expected to generate upwards of $8 million in revenue for the state.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin wrote a letter Tuesday to House Finance Committee Chairman Raymond Gallison, saying he supports certain aspects of the governor’s proposal, including the limitations on the number of plants.

Saying there’s been a lot of pushback against the provision, Raimondo said earlier this month that she’s considering making some changes. The governor also said she’s open to a state referendum to legalize the drug, which was on the agenda at the statehouse Tuesday.

State lawmakers are currently considering a proposal to regulate and tax marijuana for recreational use, similar to the way alcohol is treated.

Officials from Colorado visited the statehouse to discuss the experience they’ve had so far since legalizing marijuana back in 2012. They gave a presentation to state lawmakers and held a question and answer session Tuesday afternoon.

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