On Friday, Rhode Island’s governor said that he seconds expungement of past marijuana records as part of a move to legalize marijuana. However, that provision was not featured in a legislation that he recently launched.
When Governor McKee Daniel was questioned about his previous opposition to marijuana legislation amid an interview with WPRI-TV’s Newsmakers and asserted that the landscape is no longer the same on the matter, noting that regions like Massachusetts have advanced with eradicating marijuana prohibition.
Last week, Daniel launched his 2022 budget proposal that entailed a language to authorize adult-use cannabis. It arrived days after leaders of the legislature launched their reform to regulate and tax marijuana sales. However, unlike that reform, the governor’s measure didn’t explicitly highlight removal of former convictions.
The Rhode Island Governor said he backs a different expungement reform from Representative Williams Anastasia, arguing that its among the equity provisions for marijuana reform. However, when questioned about whether he’d push for autonomous record clearing or require individuals to ask courts for the reprieve, McKee gave no comment.
He said that either way is okay with him, adding that he thinks the state needs an approach towards that. The governor claimed that state policy changes influenced his change of opinion, citing that Massachusetts has implemented a legal cannabis market and Rhode Island can certainly learn from that.
He also said that his plan would provide opportunities to minority entrepreneurs and prioritize them to allow 20% of the applications to be approved.
McKee said that legalization is an economic opportunity, adding that it’s necessary to expunge marijuana records.
Although there’s a lot of disparity between the authorization reforms unveiled by McKee’s administrations and legislators, both entities have indicated that they plan to liaise together. McKee’s reform calls for twenty-five cannabis retailers to be awarded permits every year during the initial three years of enactment.