As Memorial Day weekend dawns in the US, cannabis advocates have a victory to celebrate as Rhode Island became the 19th state in America to legalize recreational cannabis. Governor Dan McKee signed the Rhode Island Cannabis Act into law just a few days ago, marking a big swing for the small, Northeast state. Under the newly passed law, possession and home-growing of cannabis is now legal for adults age 21 or older, and in-store sales may begin as soon as December 1, 2022. The Rhode Island Cannabis Act also establishes a framework for “common-sense” adult use cannabis regulation with a strong emphasis on public health and public safety. The new law will give courts until July 1, 2024, to automatically expunge past convictions, and those who want their expungement sooner may request it.
Governor McKee stated, “This bill successfully incorporates our priorities of making sure cannabis legalization is equitable, controlled, and safe,” said Governor McKee. “In addition, it creates a process for the automatic expungement of past cannabis convictions. My Administration’s original legalization plan also included such a provision and I am thrilled that the Assembly recognized the importance of this particular issue. The end result is a win for our state both socially and economically.”
Other details in the new law include:
The legislation calls for a 20 percent tax rate, split up into the 7 percent sales tax, a new 10 percent cannabis tax, and a 3 percent tax by the municipality where the marijuana is sold. In addition, the legislation makes numerous investments in the creation of an equitable, accessible cannabis retail market through the set-aside of certain application fee revenues and the reservation of a portion of new licenses for social equity applicants and worker-owned cooperatives.
Congrats to Rhode Island and enjoy the Memorial Day weekend!