Rhode Island Becomes Nineteenth State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Following the historic vote in favor of legalization by the House and Senate Tuesday, Governor Dan McKee signs the legislation into law today.
Greenhouse With Cultivated Cannabis Plants In Flowering Stage

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In a “high” point (sorry, we had to) for those rooting for the legalization of marijuana in Rhode Island, state legislators largely voted in favor of the Rhode Island Cannabis Act on Tuesday, with House votes totaling 55-16 while the Senate passed 32-6. The bill—which will allow adults twenty-one and older to buy and possess up to one ounce of marijuana, allow Rhode Islanders to grow small amounts at home and wipe any prior civil violation, misdemeanor or felony conviction for now-decriminalized marijuana possessions from court record systems—was signed into law by Governor Daniel McKee this afternoon on the south lawn of the State House. Legal marijuana sales are expected to begin December 1 of this year.

“The bill I sign today will ensure the legalization of the drug is equitable, controlled and safe,” McKee says. “Together, we got the job done and we got it done right.”

Rhode Island certainly isn’t alone in the endeavor: Seventeen other states have legalized marijuana for recreational use since Colorado took the plunge in 2012 (thirty-eight states allow for the medical use in some capacity). Our neighbors, Massachusetts and Connecticut, are among them, having officially sanctioned its use in 2016 and 2021, respectively. The decision comes after a complicated years-long debate, with those in favor arguing that legalization will help lower unnecessary incarceration rates and that it has the potential to boost the local economy, while the opposition worries there’s no reliable marijuana testing for impaired drivers.

Rhody residents also seem to be falling into one of the two camps, with a a vocal majority taking after the House and Senate.




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