RI Lawmakers to Propose MJ Legalization Bill

Lawmakers in Rhode Island plan to introduce bills this week that would legalize recreational marijuana in the nation’s smallest state.

The bills, one slated for the state’s House of Representatives and the other in the Senate, are in response to a proposal last week by Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo to track medical marijuana plants and charge patients an annual fee of $150 for each plant they grow, according to the Associated Press. Raimondo also proposed charging caregivers an annual fee of $350 for each plant they grow.

The sponsors of the bills, Rep. Scott Slater of Providence and Sen. Joshua Miller of Cranston, say it would be wrong to tax medical marijuana patients, and say their legalization bills would tax recreational users instead.

Patients and cannabis advocates in the state criticized Raimondo’s proposal as unfair and illogical.

“We tax alcohol, but not prescription medications,” said Jared Moffat, director of Regulate Rhode Island. “Similarly, it makes little sense to extract revenue from sick people who need marijuana as a medicine while keeping marijuana that is used for fun untaxed and in the illicit market.