Rhode Island to form recreational cannabis study commission

Rhode Island’s Senate and House of Representatives voted to end their debate over recreational marijuana legalization bills and instead created a 19-person commission to study the issue.

Among the commission’s mandates – after the Senate agreed Thursday with an earlier House vote to halt any MJ legislation – is the exploration of the recreational markets in states that already have it, such as Colorado and Washington.

Marijuana advocates called formation of the commission a delay tactic that would encourage Rhode Island residents to buy marijuana in Massachusetts, where rec sales are supposed to begin in the second half of 2018.

The new commission – which is smaller than the proposed 22 members – must report back to the full legislature by early next year.

The move lays to rest, for now, a handful of legalization bills in either chamber, including a Senate measure whose number happened to be 420, according to Rhode Island Public Radio. The 420 bill would have legalized possession of small amounts of adult-use cannabis but not sales until there’s been further study.

– Associated Press