Rhode Island: Senate Lawmakers Advance Adult Use Marijuana Legalization Bill

Members of the Rhode Island state Senate approved legislation to legalize marijuana for adults in the state and regulate its production and retail sale.

“Rhode Island is an island of prohibition in a sea of legalization,” said NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf. “As one of the two remaining New England states that have yet to pass legalization, the time is now to stop ceding the control and revenue of the marijuana market to surrounding states and unregulated enterprises. Passage of this legislation is also essential in beginning to repair the decades of damage disproportionately done to communities of color as a result of the war on drugs.”

Senate Bill 568, which is sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use. The measure would also facilitate the expungement of past convictions involving up to two ounces of marijuana possession.

S568 was approved by the Senate with a 29 to 9 vote, and will now head to the House for further consideration. House leadership has previously indicated that the issue could be considered in the lower chamber later this year.

“The momentum behind the nationwide movement to end our failed prohibition continues to grow at an accelerated pace,” commented NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Just this year five states have already approved legislation to legalize marijuana for adults, including Rhode Island’s neighbor Connecticut. The American people are sick and tired of our failed prohibitionist policies and finally their elected officials are enacting the will of their constituents. We call upon the Rhode Island General Assembly to follow the Senate’s lead and quickly approve this bill.”