Rhode Island Governor Includes Cannabis Legalization Proposal in State Budget Plan
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Rhode Island Governor Includes Cannabis Legalization Proposal in State Budget Plan

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s proposal includes state-run adult-use cannabis retailers.

January 17, 2020

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo released a state budget plan Jan. 16 that includes a proposal to legalize adult-use cannabis and distribute the products through state-run retailers.

The $10.2-billion tax-and-spending plan would take effect for the fiscal year beginning July 1, according to a Providence Journal report.

The state’s cannabis shops would be operated by private contractors, the news outlet reported, but the state would control the location, price, potency and quantity of sales. The state would receive 61% of the net revenue generated, while the private operators would receive 29% and the host communities would receive 10%.

Raimondo projects that adult-use cannabis sales would begin March 21, 2021, and generate $70 million in sales over the last four months of the fiscal year, according to the Providence Journal. The tax revenue would go toward law enforcement, the Rhode Island Department of Health and educators.

To oversee the industry, 13 regulators would be appointed to the state’s Office of Cannabis Regulation, the Providence Journal reported.

Raimondo’s proposal would allow adult-use customers to purchase one ounce of cannabis per day and place a 50% THC cap on all adult-use cannabis products, according to the news outlet.

This is the second year Raimondo is including adult-use cannabis legalization in the state budget; she introduced a similar proposal last year, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

This year’s proposal is also likely to face pushback, the Providence Journal reported.

“At first glance, there are many areas of the budget that we can work together on to improve our state,” Senate President Dominick Ruggerio told the news outlet. “I am disappointed that revenue from the proposed legalization of recreational marijuana was included in the budget proposal. Seeing as the marijuana proposal is unlikely to pass, we effectively have a proposed budget that is out of balance."