Rhode Island becomes 19th state to legalize adult-use marijuana

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Where marijuana is legal in the United States

(This story has been updated to add the U.S. legalization map.)

Rhode Island officially became the 19th state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use marijuana when Democratic Gov. Dan McKee on Wednesday signed into law a bill passed by state lawmakers the day before.

Existing medical cannabis operators will be able to obtain hybrid adult-use licenses on Dec. 1, so sales are expected to begin then.

Each operator will be required to pay a $125,000 fee, which will go into a social equity fund.

“This bill successfully incorporates our priorities of making sure cannabis legalization is equitable, controlled and safe,” McKee said in a news release and on social media.

The program features limited licensing but also sets aside 25% of new retail licenses for social equity applicants and another 25% for worker-owned cooperatives.

In all, 24 new retail licenses will be issued in six geographic areas of the state.

Rhode Island already has more than 60 medical cannabis cultivators. Those in good standing will be able to grow for the adult-use market.

Otherwise, the legislation imposes a two-year moratorium on new cultivation licenses.

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Municipalities can opt out of the adult-use program, except in areas that already have MMJ dispensaries.

Marijuana products will be taxed at 10% in addition to the state tax rate of 7%, plus an additional 3% local tax.