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Rhode Island Makes Marijuana History

A state legislative committee has approved a Cannabis legalization measure for the first time ever.

Photo by Arthouse Studio

Lawmakers in Rhode Island made history in June when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a marijuana legalization bill. The committee approval marked the first time a recreational legalization bill ever advanced in Rhode Island.

Both Gov. Dan McKee and Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey introduced competing adult-use proposals. Yet despite those proposals being weighed by legislators, legalization in Rhode Island appeared to be in limbo just last month when House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi told reporters that lawmakers were not happy with either of the two bills.

And even worse, Shekarchi hinted that legalization would be put off until the fall, or might not happen at all this year.

Nonetheless, the Judiciary Committee passed Majority Leader McCaffrey’s bill with a 6-2 vote. And, as unlikely as it seems, the Senate is suddenly anxious to put the bill to a floor vote, which could happen before the end of June.

McCaffrey’s bill was amended to put a hold on approving new cultivators and earmark a third of retail licenses for social equity applicants before it passed the committee.

  The adult-use measure would allow for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. It would also allow personal cultivation of up to six plants.

The bill includes an option for expungements of past Cannabis convictions. The revised version of the measure increases the possession limit for expungement from one to two ounces.