R.I. lawmaker puts chances of legalizing recreational marijuana at 95 percent

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – It’s more than likely that recreational marijuana will be legalized in 2021, state lawmakers told ABC 6 on Tuesday.

Rep. Karen Alzate put the chances at about 95 percent.

According to several lawmakers, the pandemic only added to a massive budget deficit of about $275 million, and marijuana sales would be considered as one possible solution to help fill that shortfall.

If a recreational marijuana bill became law, legislators would need to decide whether the state would control dispensaries, similar to New Hampshire’s state-run liquor stores or the private sector would control the dispensaries.

State lawmakers also told ABC 6 News, although chances are good for passage of a recreational marijuana bill this year, the issue of course will still be up for debate.

 “We need to make sure that if we’re going to legalize marijuana than we need to take a look at how many people are at the ACI because of this,” Rep. Alzate said.

Rep. Julie Casimiro said she’s still neutral on the idea of legalization of recreational marijuana in the Ocean State.

“I do want law enforcement to sign off on any bill that we put through on legalizing it. I think it’s important that we know we can keep our communities safe,” Rep. Casimiro said.

Legislators told ABC6 that dispensaries would most likely be in operation by Jan. 2022, if recreational marijuana is legalized in 2021.

Categories: News, Politics, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island