Rhode Island lawmakers are serious about legalizing Cannabis in 2021. So serious in fact, that Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey has said a legalization bill will be introduced to the legislature in February.
McCaffrey said he wants to move on the bill now so representatives have more time to figure out the specifics of expungements and how to distribute revenue from sales.
While Gov. Gina Raimondo is on record advocating for a state-run adult-use Cannabis system, this proposal is for a traditional program run by private industry. However, the bill does not allow for vertical integration, opting instead to keep each area, like cultivation and dispensaries, “independent of each other.”
The bill will also include an opt-out provision for jurisdictions that want to ban marijuana businesses.
McCaffrey said the bill will include the option to expunge past marijuana criminal records and also a strong social equity plan. However, the majority leader is not sure how exactly equity will work in Rhode Island yet.
“We want to make sure that we take care of people who may not be able to have the resources to get a license, so we’re going to set up a process where anyone can get a license. And we’re going to look at different criteria for those who apply,” he said.