Despite personal reservations, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo will move to legalize marijuana as soon as her next budget proposal.
Gov. Raimondo gave a recent interview and noted that she has maintained a resistance to this move throughout her term as governor. However, with Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut, the state’s neighbours, already with marijuana legislation on the books or at least on the table, the similar forward momentum for Rhode Island is necessary.
Rhode Island’s proposed legislation takes a different approach to the move, however. While possession and sales would be legal, residents will not be permitted to grow their own cannabis, and edibles will have strict regulations regarding the level of THC permitted in the products.
Meanwhile, other officials agree that the state is not moving forward with legislation for monetary gain — one major factor in the push for legislation in other states. Instead, the move is an effort to control the use of marijuana in state and minimize black market purchases and residents visiting other states to bring the product back.
Adults will be allowed to purchase one ounce at a time, while they can have up to five ounces in their possession at home. Towns will be allowed to determine if they host a retail location or not, although Rhode Island’s legislation is not predicted to have a set amount of retail licenses that will be issued to those who apply.
Public health and public safety are the main focus of the agenda to legalize adult use of marijuana in Rhode Island, and in that regard, the legislation is crafted to prohibit the strongest forms of marijuana except in specific and rare medical cases.
A new Office of Cannabis Regulation will be created, and that office will be responsible for regulating edibles and products that may be appealing to younger generations especially. Meanwhile, product packaging will need to be approved, and the design of packaging that may appeal to children will be prohibited. Likewise, the creation of edibles in gummy bear shapes or other designs that may catch the attention of younger residents will not be allowed.