RI Senate to consider legalizing recreational marijuana

Politics

UPDATE: RI Senate approves bill to legalize recreational marijuana »

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill Tuesday afternoon that would legalize recreational cannabis use for adults.

Tuesday’s vote marks the first time either chamber of the R.I. General Assembly would vote on such a bill.

The bill was approved by the R.I. Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

The legislation would tax marijuana at a rate of 20%, add a moratorium on new cultivator licenses until 2023, and create an independent cannabis control commission, which would oversee the program and issue licenses for cannabis retailers.

Last Thursday, Rhode Island lawmakers unveiled a $13.1 billion proposed state budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which does not include Gov. Dan McKee’s plan to legalize, tax, and regulate recreational marijuana. 

While the Senate will still vote on a legalization bill Tuesday night, an agreement hasn’t been reached between the House, Senate, and McKee over how to structure a legal cannabis market.

House Speaker Joe Shekarchi has said the matter may be taken up in a special session later this year.

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