Rhode Island’s Senate and House of Representatives legislative committees have approved the bill to legalize cannabis. The House and Senate will vote on the bill next Tuesday. After the bill was approved in committee, the governor said he intended to approve it.
“I will be prepared to sign the bill if it arrives on my desk the way I understand it is going to be delivered,” Daniel McKee said Wednesday.
A 10 year project
“For me, this is a 10-year effort, so it’s nice to wrap it up,” said Senator Josh Miller, sponsor of the Senate legislation.
The bill establishes a regulatory framework for the legal cannabis trade, with the sale of recreational cannabis to begin on December 1. It allows adults 21 and older to publicly possess up to one ounce of cannabis. The bill also allows adults to possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis in a private location and to cultivate up to three growing plants and three flowering plants in their home.
The latest version of the bill also strengthens the social equity mechanism. Previous convictions for low-severity cannabis-related offenses will be expunged by the courts, which have been given a July 1, 2024 deadline to complete the process.
“Social equity has been a primary concern for us throughout this process,” said Rep. Scott Slater. “The starting line is not the same for people in poor, urban and minority communities, and they deserve support to ensure they fully benefit from legalization. »
The bill also includes changes for patients who use cannabis for medical purposes, including the elimination of fees for patient cards and plant identification tags when growing their own plants. Adults who grow cannabis for recreational purposes would still be required to purchase plant identification tags.
“The amended bill is the result of a collaborative effort to address concerns about protecting medical use, ensuring fair governance and recognizing that we cannot perform this transition without taking steps to give back to communities and individuals who have been punished for decades under prohibition,” said Josh Miller.