Rhode Island Gov: 2014 “Too Soon” for Legalization

Rhode Island looked to be on track to become the next state to legalize recreational marijuana. But the state’s governor, Lincoln Chafee, is pumping the brakes.

On Tuesday, Chafee said the state should wait a year before proceeding with marijuana legalization to see how recreational laws work out in Colorado and Washington. Chafee did not present a timeline for when the state should pursue legalization, however.

Rhode Island legalized medical marijuana in 2006, allowed dispensaries in 2009 and decriminalized up to an ounce of marijuana in 2013.

Last year, advocates presented a full legalization bill, the Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act, to the state’s legislature. The bill received a committee hearing and was then held for further study.

Hopes were high that the state would pass a recreational bill this yea. Marijuana Policy Project Director Rob Kampia told attendees at the 2013 National CannaBusiness Conference and Expo that he believed Rhode Island would be the third U.S. state to legalize marijuana, behind Colorado and Washington.

Despite Chafee’s comments, MPP has said it will not back down. The group still plans to re-introduce legislation when the state legislature meets in late January for its 2014 session.