Rhode Island becomes 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana

Mckee Signing
Gov. Dan McKee signs recreational pot bill. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Gov. Dan McKee signed a bill Wednesday making Rhode Island the 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana.

McKee was joined by the bill sponsors, Sen. Josh Miller (D-Cranston) and Rep. Scott Slater (D-Providence), along with other state leaders for the signing.

Under the new law, possession and home-growing of pot is now legal for people 21 over in the state and will allow for recreational sales to commence Dec. 1.

“This bill successfully incorporates our priorities of making sure cannabis legalization is equitable, controlled, and safe,” said McKee. “In addition, it creates a process for the automatic expungement of past cannabis convictions.”

That provision was added in the amended bill that passed the House and Senate Tuesday for possession of marijuana charges to be automatically expunged.

The legislation also creates a 20% tax rate, including new 10% cannabis tax and 3% tax for the municipality where it was sold. Analysis suggest the state will net around $20 million for the first year of sales.

A three-person Cannabis Control Commission will also be established to provide oversight to the cannabis industry.

Rhode Island follows neighboring states Connecticut and Massachusetts in legalizing recreation marijuana.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island