Rhode Island May Follow Massachusetts’s Lead and Regulate and Tax Marijuana
After California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts all passed recreational marijuana laws, Rhode Island is considering recreational marijuana legislation. They would be the first State to do so through State legislature.
The Yes vote on Question 4, allowing for recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, will increase the pressure for Rhode Island’s political leaders to take up and ultimately pass The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act.
In Rhode Island the 2017 legislative session begins in January.
The Marijuana Policy Project is a key member of the Regulate Rhode Island coalition, and will take a lead role in working with legislators to ensure that the bill to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use is voted on and ultimately passed.
Rhode Island’s current possession and medical marijuana laws
While it is still illegal adults in Rhode Island to use, possess, or cultivate recreational marijuana, Rhode Island is one of 20 States that no longer jails individuals for possession.
In 2012,(a MPP-led) lobbying effort succeeded in reducing the penalty for possession (up to an ounce of marijuana) to a $150 civil fine. If the person charged with possession is under 18, their parent or legal guardian will be notified, and the minor will be required to complete a drug awareness and education program. A third possession offense within 18 months would result in criminal charges.
Rhode Island also has a compassionate medical marijuana program that has been bringing relief to many seriously ill residents for almost a decade. The law protects registered patients from arrest and prosecution for possessing, using, or cultivating a limited amount of marijuana if they have a doctor’s recommendation to do so. The law was amended in 2009 to allow for regulated compassion centers that can distribute medical marijuana to qualified patients.
From: Marijuana Policy Project