Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that cities and towns are voting to opt out of cannabis sales.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Earlier this year, Rhode Island lawmakers passed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana and soon some residents will get to vote if dispensaries should be banned in the community where they live.
Gov. Dan McKee signed a bill into law in May that allows adults over 21 to possess, use and grow cannabis. It also expunges past convictions and sets up a new framework for sales and taxation at state-sanctioned stores.
Although the law immediately legalized marijuana possession statewide, retail sales still won’t start until December.
Municipalities will also be able to ban the sale of marijuana by voter referendum this fall. If they don’t ask voters the question this fall, they will not be able to prevent retail sales in their community.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, 31 cities and towns will have the local cannabis question on the November ballot. Below is a list:
- East Greenwich
- East Providence
- Little Compton
- New Shoreham
- North Kingstown
- North Providence
- North Smithfield
- South Kingstown
- West Greenwich
- West Warwick
If your community votes to ban retail sales, that city or town would not be eligible for any of the revenue from marijuana sales.
Under the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, a maximum of 33 retail stores will be allowed to open in the state.
Rhode Island is the 19th state in the nation to legalize the drug for recreational use.