Rhode Island Becomes 19th State to Legalize Cannabis

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) has signed the state’s adult-use legalization bill, making Rhode Island the 19th state in the union to legalize recreational cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) on Wednesday signed the bill to legalize cannabis for adult use just one day after it was approved by the Legislature, WPRI reports. Rhode Island is the 19th state to legalize cannabis for adult use.

“This bill successfully incorporates our priorities of making sure cannabis legalization is equitable, controlled and safe.” – McKee, during the signing ceremony, via WPRI

Under the measure, adults 21-and-older can purchase and possess up to an ounce of cannabis and keep 10 ounces at home for personal use. Adults can also cultivate up to six plants at home, including three mature and three immature plants. The state will license 33 retailers across six zones and impose a 10% excise tax, along with the state’s 7% sales tax, and a 3% tax which would go to municipalities.

The legislation also includes automatic expungement provisions, giving the courts until July 1, 2024, to provide relief to all that are eligible. Any prior civil violation, misdemeanor, or felony conviction for cannabis possession that is legal under the law will be automatically erased from court record systems under the criminal justice reforms.

An early fiscal note on the bill estimated first-year sales – from 2023 to 2024 – would reach $14 million in new revenue for Rhode Island with cities and towns receiving about $2.5 million, the report says. More than $5 million would be used to administer the program, the note estimated; however, the bill passed by the Legislature did not include fiscal estimates and assumed sales would begin on October 1 while they are expected on December 1.

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