Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee signed the bill to legalize cannabis for adults in the state last Wednesday, just a day after it was approved by the Legislative Assembly. Rhode Island is the 19th US state to legalize cannabis for adults.
“This bill successfully integrates our priorities of ensuring that the legalization of cannabis is fair, controlled and safe. said the governor during the signing ceremony.
Under this measure, adults 21 and older will be able to buy and possess up to one ounce of cannabis (28 grams) and keep 10 ounces at home for personal use. Adults can also grow up to six plants at home, with three flowering and three growing. The state will license 33 retailers in six areas and impose a 10% excise tax, as well as the state’s 7% sales tax and a 3% tax that will be returned to municipalities.
The legislation also includes provisions for automatic cancellation of criminal records, giving the courts until July 1, 2024 to grant respite to all who are eligible. Any prior civil violations, misdemeanors or convictions for possession of cannabis, which would now be legal, will automatically be erased from court records systems as part of this reform.
A preliminary tax memo on the bill estimated that first-year sales — from 2023 to 2024 — would reach $14 million in new revenue for Rhode Island, with cities and towns receiving about $2.5 million, indicates the report.
More than $5 million would be used to administer the program, according to the memo; however, the bill passed by the legislature did not include tax estimates and assumed that sales would begin on October 1 when they are scheduled for December 1.