Recreational Marijuana Most Likely Coming to RI
The General Assembly will be taking up the discussion this session on allowing recreational marijuana. Although the consideration has been thrown around for quite some time, the passage of a 2016 referendum in neighboring Massachusetts seems to have escalated the discussion for Rhode Island.
There are still so many unknowns regarding the use of marijuana, especially during the adolescent years of developing minds and bodies. The allowance would stipulate use for over 21 years old. Senator Louis P. DiPalma, said “for me, it’s a policy issue. The detrimental effects that marijuana has on the developing brain is the reason, there have been no medical studies that contradicted that belief”.
Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, said “I’m open to discussions, but I have significant concerns about such legislation. Any Statehouse debate about legalizing recreational marijuana should not primarily focus on new revenue that such a move would bring to state government, she added. “This should also be viewed as a quality of life and safety issues .”
“It certainly makes sense for those states to look at the policy and consider the benefits that a state gets from putting this behind a regulated counter,” Taylor West, deputy director of the Washing- ton-based National Cannabis Industry Association.
“Rhode Island could see $10 million to $15 million in revenue in its first year if the state legalizes marijuana”, Gov. Gina Raimondo said in an interview with The Providence Journal last month.
According to an article in the Huntington Post this month, emergency rooms in states where recreational cannabis is legal have seen a significant increase in an illness called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. According to experts, the illness is linked to long-term and heavy use of marijuana.
Rhode Island would become the ninth state to allow recreational marijuana should the General Assembly allow legislation for this purpose. Rhode Island is one of twenty eight states that currently allow medical marijuana with a prescription from a doctor.