Cannabis Legalization On the Move: Rhode Island Senate Approves, Louisiana Gov. Says Yes To Smokable Medical Marijuana

Rhode Island Senators Approve Legalization Of Recreational Cannabis

The Rhode Island Senate approved the legalization of marijuana for adults on Tuesday, entering the race to become the 20th state to legalize recreational cannabis.

Lawmakers noted that the vote represents the first time that either chamber of the state's Legislature has passed a proposal to legalize cannabis, Marijuana Moment writes.

The new bill was introduced by Sen. Joshua Miller (D), chair of the chamber’s Health and Human Services Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey (D). The bill is now heading to the state House Of Representatives.

“Cannabis legalization is as much about reconciliation as it is revenue,” McCaffrey said in a press release, in which he noted that prohibition has disproportionately impacted communities of color and Rhode Island's legal program intends to do its best to rectify those injustices.

"Low barriers to entry, expungement reform, and broad access to programs designed to increase access for individuals and communities impacted by the failed War on Drugs are an important and necessary component,” McCaffrey said.

According to House Speaker Joe Shekarchi (D), the Legislature is preparing to discuss the structuring of a legal cannabis industry in a special session later this year. 

The bill, which allows home growing, foresees a 20% tax on marijuana sales, the formation of a cannabis control commission and the creation of a Cannabis Equity Fund. 

Louisiana Gov. Edwards Signs Bill Allowing MMJ Patients To Smoke Cannabis Flower

John Bel Edwards signed a bill on Tuesday allowing medical cannabis patients to legally smoke whole-plant marijuana flower, just days after decriminalizing marijuana possession.

The legislation expands Louisiana's medical marijuana program, which previously only allowed patients to vaporize cannabis via a “metered-dose inhaler.”

Although Gov. Edwards approved a measure to decriminalize possession of up to 14 grams of cannabis last week, he has said he would not likely sign a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. However, he recognizes that reform “is going to happen in Louisiana eventually.” Edwards' term ends in early 2024.

Photo by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsMediaGeneralcannabis legalizationDaniel McKeeJohn Bel EdwardsJoshua MillerMarijuana MomentRhode Island
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