Rhode Island marijuana legalization bill could be ready by early 2022

Written by on 21 December, 2021

A bill to legalize cannabis in Rhode Island is expected to be ready for introduction early next year. According to state representative and House Speaker Joe Shekarchi, the legislative proposal is nearly finalized.

“We have worked very hard and are continuing to work. There were a lot of differences in the versions between the House version, the Senate version, and the Governor’s version,” Shekarchi said in an interview with WPRI. “I’m happy to report that we’ve worked down to almost one remaining problem, but it’s not there yet.”

The issue he is referring to is over who should regulate the cannabis market: a new independent commission or the state Department of Business Regulation (DBR).

Shekarchi confirmed that he will attend a meeting where he “intends to close that loose end so we can introduce legislation in the first quarter of 2022,” High Times reviewed.

“We are looking at other states. But the marijuana bill, in general, is a very complicated piece of legislation,” he said. “People just say ‘legalize it.’ It touches on very different areas of law. It touches on taxation. We have to make sure we’re getting it right,” he noted.

Legislators are “talking about some kind of expungement process that would be incorporated into the bill, so it’s a very comprehensive bill. It’s a very thick bill. And it’s in a lot of different areas of law, and I want to make sure we get it right,” he said.

Current track