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Rhode Island Committee to Discuss Legalization Bill Today

The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee is scheduled for a hearing today on a proposal to legalize cannabis statewide and establish a system for the commercial production and distribution of the plant.

House Bill 7752 — sponsored by Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Providence) — seeks to legalize and regulate cannabis similarly to alcohol.

“This bill would provide a tremendous economic boost for our state, which is one of several reasons why our state legislators should not delay voting on it,” said Jared Moffat, director of Regulate Rhode Island, which is a pro-cannabis organization that supports Slater’s bill.

“This proposal would create dozens of new businesses and thousands of new jobs across Rhode Island. Our state’s unemployment rate is still significantly higher than our neighbors’, and this legislation will put many Rhode Islanders back to work,” Moffat said.

Slater also has two other cannabis-related proposals for consideration — one which adds PTSD to the list of Rhode Island’s qualifying conditions for MMJ, and another would potentially increase the number of compassion center permits available in Rhode Island from three to six.

According to regulatory analyst Eric Casey of 4Front Ventures, a researching firm dedicated to the cannabis market, “Instead of continuing to have an out of control underground market, Rhode Island has the opportunity to create a responsibly regulated, legal market. Workers will be better protected, provided salaries and benefits, and paying into the tax system.”

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin said in a statement that while he supports medical cannabis, he hopes that Rhode Island does not go down the path of recreational legalization. “There are too many unknowns,” he said, “and… unintended consequences associated with legalizing recreational marijuana.”

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