Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo will propose a framework to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use, reports the Providence Journal.
Raimondo says the proposal is an effort to keep pace with neighboring states that have already ended pot prohibition, such as such as Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
New York and New Jersey are also considering changes to their cannabis policies.
“I will say, I do this with reluctance,” Raimondo told The Journal. “Like it or not, we’re going to be incurring public safety and public health expenses because it’s legal in Massachusetts…And I think it is time for us to put together our own regulatory and taxing framework.”
The call for legalization would be part of the state’s budget plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Raimondo’s model would create one of the most regulated recreational cannabis markets in the country, as it would prohibit personal home growing and ban marijuana concentrates with high potencies. Single servings of infused edibles such as gummies, brownies or cookies would be limited to contain no more than 5 milligrams of THC.
State officials want to legalize marijuana in order to ensure that their citizens can purchase safe products in their own state rather than visiting one of their many neighbors that currently offer recreational marijuana, or are planning to introduce legal programs.
“We’re not doing this for the revenue,” Kevin Gallagher, the governor’s deputy chief of staff, told the Journal. “We’re going to be surrounded by [marijuana], and the only way we will be able to control the public health, to make sure we have safe products, control distribution, ensure proper enforcement, is if we take control of our own destiny and establish a framework here that has those significant protections.”
Rhode Island’s first recreational stores could open by next January if lawmakers approve the proposal.
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