Rhode Island marijuana legalization hearing

By: News Staff

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Marijuana legalization will once again be taken up on Smith Hill Tuesday.

While pressure is mounting for Rhode Island to legalize the drug, some lawmakers still strongly opposed.

Although the move to legalize marijuana in the Ocean State has been contested for years, the law’s recent passage in Massachusetts has many in Rhode Island pushing for the same, saying it will be a much needed boost to the state economy.

The House Judiciary Committee is set to hear the proposed legislation on Tuesday.

The bill, much like Massachusetts, would legalize consumption and cultivation of marijuana for adults.

Massachusetts may see legal pot shops opening up in the state as early as July of next year renewing the debate in Rhode Island.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has strongly campaigned against legalization citing public safety concerns and potential issues with regulation.

However, local advocates say it could bring significant economic gains to Rhode Island.

“We’ve seen in Colorado now, tens of thousands of jobs created from the legal marijuana economy so we could create thousands of jobs, potentially, here in Rhode Island. We could also generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue,” Jared Moffat; Regulate Rhode Island.

Critics say there is no rush in approving this legislation.

Also on the table Tuesday is a proposal to form a commission on the effects of legalizing marijuana. That committee would present findings to the General Assembly next year.

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