On Monday afternoon, Rhode Island's Senate Judiciary Committee approved an adult-use cannabis bill, marking the first time a cannabis proposal of its nature has ever reached the state General Assembly floor.
The bill, expected to reach the Senate on Tuesday, is the first of three in the state making its way through the legislative process.
Gov. Dan McKee previously submitted his version during his annual budget proposal. A House bill proposed by Rep. Scott Slater and several cosponsors was introduced in late May.
As Marijuana Moment notes, the bill approval comes days after House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi indicated that legalization would likely need to wait until the summer or fall for discussion.
Gov. McKee is expected to sign the legalization bill when it reaches his desk.
If passed, the bill would create an independent commission to oversee programs and licensing. The approved proposal comes after state Senators heard feedback from advocates and municipalities harboring concerns over how many stores they would have to host.
To address the latter concern, revisions were raised, capping retail licenses to one for every 20,000 citizens in town. Each municipality is permitted a minimum of three retail permits unless it opts out of the marketplace.
The proposed bill would temporarily cap cultivation licenses to roughly 60 until 2023.
The bill also aims to address social equity. Under the submitted guidelines, one-third of all retail licenses would be reserved for those disproportionately affected by the drug war.
The stated number of reserved permits adds specificity to the previously proposed plan while maintaining the original bill's social equity assistance fund.
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