Rhode Island Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Bill Into Law

Legislation allowing those with past marijuana convictions to have the charges expunged (removed) from their criminal record has been signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo (D).

House Bill 8355 and companion measure Senate Bill 2447 allows those with past convictions for crimes involving the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana to petition the court for an order of expungement. It states, “[W]here the court has determined that all conditions of the original criminal sentence have been completed, … the court [will] order the expungement without cost to the petitioner.” The law took effect immediately upon passage,

In Rhode Island, the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana has been decriminalized since 2013.

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Rhode Island Legislature Passes Measure Establishing Marijuana Study Commission

A commission designed to study the potential impact of legalizing marijuana in Rhode Island would be established under legislation approved by the state’s full legislature.

Yesterday Rhode Island’s Senate gave approval to House Bill 5551, roughly two weeks after it was approved 67 to 2 in the state’s House of Representatives. The proposal would establish a 19-person commission which purpose is to “conduct a comprehensive review and make recommendations regarding marijuana and the effects of its use on the residents of Colorado and Washington to the extent available, and to study the fiscal impact to those states; and thereafter the potential impact on Rhode Island.”

According to House Bill 5551, the commission “shall report its findings and results to the General Assembly on or before March 1, 2018, and said commission shall expire on July 1, 2018”. The 19-person committee shall consist of;

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The 5 States Most Likely to Legalize Marijuana Next (and by 2018)

Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012. Oregon and Alaska followed in 2014. In 2016, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada joined the movement. Here’s a look at the five states most likely to be next, and by the end of next year.

 

Vermont

Last year Vermont’s Senate became the first in U.S. history to approve a measure (Senate Bill 241) that would have fully legalized cannabis for those 21 and older. Despite also being supported by the state’s attorney general and governor at the time, it failed to pass the House.

However, proponents are taking up the issue again in 2017, with the added momentum of four additional states having legalized cannabis just a few months prior.

The state’s new Governor Phil Scott unfortunately doesn’t support legalization, but is at least open to the idea, saying “I can appreciate the discussion around ending the prohibition of marijuana.”

 

Read moreThe 5 States Most Likely to Legalize Marijuana Next (and by 2018)

Rhode Island Lawmakers Announce Legislation to Legalize Cannabis: “We Should Pass it This Year”

Rhode Island State Senator Joshua Miller and Sate Representative Scott Slater have announced that they will soon file companion bills to legalize cannabis.

“We have a responsible, fine-tuned bill, and we should pass it this year,” Miller, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, said at a Wednesday news conference. “This year’s bill addresses the issues that have been raised by the governor and stakeholders; it is streamlined to work effectively with the regulatory structure in place for medical marijuana.”

Miller continued; “Polls of residents in towns across Rhode Island show a majority of voters in our state support this proposal. Our constituents think it is time for lawmakers to pass this legislation, and we should listen to them.”

Read moreRhode Island Lawmakers Announce Legislation to Legalize Cannabis: “We Should Pass it This Year”

Rhode Island Senate Unanimously Approves Bill to Add PTSD as Medical Cannabis Condition

ptsdRhode Island’s full Senate has given unanimous approval to a bill that would add post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying medical cannabis condition. The measure now goes to the House of Representatives, where its passage will send it Governor Gina Raimondo for consideration.

Under current Rhode Island law, medical cannabis is legal for those with a variety of conditions such as cancer and HIV/AIDS, though it remains illegal for those with PTSD. This new bill would change that, allowing those with PTSD to legally purchase, possess and use cannabis for medical purposes if they receive a recommendation from a physician.

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Rhode Island Attorney General Holding Public Forum on Cannabis Legalization

cannabis240Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is holding a public forum Tuesday, April 5 on on the legalization of recreational cannabis, with a focus on learning from states that have already legalized the plant.

The forum will is being held at Brown University Medical Center in Providence – taking place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – and will include a plethora of speakers including those involved in the legal cannabis industry, representatives from states where cannabis is legal, and other lawmakers including Massachusetts State Senator Jason Lewis.

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Legislation to Legalize Cannabis being Filed in Rhode Island’s House and Senate this Week

cannabisbudLegislation to legalize recreational cannabis will be filed this week in the Rhode Island Legislature according to State Representative Scott Slater (D-Providence), who will file the bill in the House of Representatives, and Senator Joshua Miller (D-Cranston), who will introduce the Senate version of the bill.

The proposals would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older, while also allowing for the personal cultivation of small amounts of cannabis. The state-licensed  and taxed distribution of cannabis through cannabis retail outlets would also be legalized. These outlets would be supplied by by licensed cultivation centers.

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Poll Finds Strong Support for Legalizing Cannabis in Rhode Island

A strongcannabisjointandbud majority of voters in Rhode Island support legalizing cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol, according to a new poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, and commissioned by Regulate Rhode Island.

According to the survey of 762 Rhode Island voters, 57% support legalizing, regulating and taxing cannabis

Regulate Rhode Island is pushing for passage of bills in the state’s House and Senate – introduced last month – sponsored by Senators Joshua Miller Representative Scott Slater, which would legalize cannabis for those 21 and older while establishing a regulatory framework for its legal distribution.

Read morePoll Finds Strong Support for Legalizing Cannabis in Rhode Island

Bills to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Filed in Rhode Island’s House and Senate

Senate Healthbliss and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller and Representative Scott A. Slater have introduced companion bills in Rhode Island’s House and Senate to make cannabis legal for adults 21 and older, and to establish a system in which cannabis is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

“Marijuana prohibition has been a long-term failure,” Senator Miller said at a press conference held today. “Forcing marijuana into the underground market ensures authorities have no control of the product. Regulating marijuana would allow the product to be sold safely and responsibly by legitimate businesses in appropriate locations.”

Read moreBills to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Filed in Rhode Island’s House and Senate