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Cannabis Legalization: Hopes Dim in Rhode Island

May 6, 2021

Rhode Island lawmakers have been working on the cannabis legalization bill for quite some time. Recently, the House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi stated that he had seen some progress in the legislation process. Still, he was unsure whether the bill will progress in this year’s legislature as it is set to end on 30 June.

With that said, the efforts done by Rhode Island locals to legalize adult usage of cannabis in the State are appearing to go in vain. After the House Speaker’s statement was released, passing legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis now looks less likely.

In that regard, expert lawmakers and analysts have put Rhode Island with the states where the legalization of cannabis is highly unlikely to occur in 2021. However, there is a glimmer of hope. A few days back, the Minnesota Cannabis Legalization bill passed the tenth successive House Committee and is likely to pass the remaining as well.

Therefore, Rhode Island locals are hopeful regarding someone to take a stand for legalization. On the other hand, things are looking much better in Texas. Last week, the state House approved a medical marijuana expansion bill. The bill would help in making major changes to the state’s very limited Medicinal Marijuana program.

The bill provides Texans with the legality to use cannabis and cannabis-infused products for their medical conditions. Also, it would raise the recommended THC percentage from 0.5% to 5%. Additionally, a few other conditions like chronic pain, all types of cancer, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also liable to be treated with cannabis-based products. Previously, only two rare forms of epilepsy were in the state’s list of qualifying medical conditions.

Furthermore, as the state House has approved the bill, the next and final stop is the Senate. Being the upper house, it is within its legal capacity to either accept or reject the bill. However, the expert lawmakers are hopeful that the Senate will pass legislation just like the House approved of it.

The bill will increase the dosage of legal THC, which is currently barely above the federally legal proportion. It also seeks to increase physical participation and issue new, checked licenses to MMJ vendors across the state.

That being said, things are looking more streamlined in Texas than ever. Lawmakers are nearly sure that the bill will pass during the current tenure, before 30 June. On the contrary, things are not so good in Rhode Island.

The passing of the Rhode Island Legalization Bill is ambiguous because there are two adult-use legalization bills – one by Gov. Dan McKee and Senate leaders. This divide has made things more complicated.

In fact, Shekarchi stated that there’s a lot of uncertainty around the process due to this divide.

As per Senate Bill 568, licenses would also grant the right of “craft cultivation” permits with plain application fees.

Besides, both the House and the Senate bills would constitute plans to advance social equity aspirants, such as tiny startups.