Gov. to pro­pose le­gal­iz­ing recre­ational pot

Woonsocket Call - - FRONT PAGE -

PROV­I­DENCE — Gov. Gina Rai­mondo will pro­pose within the next week that Rhode Is­land le­gal­ize the sale of mar­i­juana for recre­ational use, she said.

The state is fac­ing the “in­evitable” prospect of be­ing en­cir­cled by states that have le­gal­ized recre­ational mar­i­juana, she said.

“I will say, I do this with re­luc­tance,” the Demo­crat told the Demo­crat told The Prov­i­dence Jour­nal for

“I will say, I do this with re­luc­tance. I have re­sisted this for the four years I’ve been gover­nor. ... Now, how­ever, things have changed...” —Rhode Is­land Gov. Gina Rai­mondo, on the pos­si­bil­ity of le­gal­iz­ing recre­ational mar­i­juana

a story pub­lished Sun­day. “I have re­sisted this for the four years I’ve been gover­nor. ... Now, how­ever, things have changed, mainly be­cause all of our neigh­bors are mov­ing for­ward” with le­gal­iza­tion.

The first recre­ational pot shops opened in Mas­sachusetts late last year, and Con­necti­cut, New York and New Jer­sey are con­sid­er­ing le­gal­iza­tion.

Her pro­posal, in­cluded in her bud­get plan for the fis­cal year be­gin­ning July 1, would cre­ate one of the most reg­u­lated recre­ational pot in­dus­tries in the coun­try, the gover­nor said. She wants to re­duce what she says are the health and safety prob­lems ex­pe­ri­enced in some

of the 10 other states that have ap­proved recre­ational use.

In ad­di­tion, she wants to pro­hibit peo­ple from grow­ing recre­ational pot at home, and to ban con­cen­trated resins and other high-po­tency prod­ucts from store shelves.

The pro­posal would also re­quire that sin­gle serv­ings of pot ed­i­bles in­clud­ing gum­mies, brown­ies or cook­ies con­tain no more than 5 mil­ligrams of

THC, the psy­chotropic com­pound in mar­i­juana.

If her pro­posal is ap­proved by law­mak­ers, the first recre­ational stores could open by Jan­uary 2020. Rhode Is­land ap­proved the use of med­i­cal mar­i­juana in 2007.

Her bud­get pro­posal calls for spend­ing about $3.5 mil­lion to get the recre­ational busi­ness up and run­ning.

Recre­ational pot would be taxed at about 17 per­cent.

Pre­vi­ous ef­forts to le­gal­ize recre­ational use of mar­i­juana have stalled in the leg­is­la­ture.

Rai­mondo said she had al­ready briefed leg­isla­tive lead­ers about her plan.

“I sus­pect at the end of the day they will prob­a­bly come to the same con­clu­sion that I have, which is: It’s here, it’s in­evitable, so let’s do it right.”

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