Several signs show that Rhode Island is likely to pursue cannabis legalization initiative with registered private businesses rather than a government-run program. On Thursday, the prospective governor announced for the first time that he seconds cannabis decriminalization and prefers an entrepreneurial approach.
This is a departure from the present governor Raimondo Gina, who has championed the state to run a licensed marijuana market.
Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee, who didn’t support legalization in 2019, will replace Gina if she’s appointed as the president-elect’s commerce secretary. When asked about authorization during a news conference on Thursday, Daniel said that it’s time to make that happen.
When asked further whether he supports Raimondo’s cannabis state-run strategy, Daniel responded that he supports an entrepreneurial approach.
Raimondo featured the state-run marijuana proposal in 2020’s budget plan; however, legislators failed to implement it.
Dominick Ruggerio, Senate President, has also indicated that he favours a conventional commercial market citing that he doesn’t believe the state should indulge in such assails and that Rhode Island should set up a private sector that’s similar to Massachusetts.
Dominick added that he had tasked Michael McCaffrey (Majority leader) and Josh Miller (Senate Committee Chair of Human and Health Services) to oversee the reform’s legislative language development this year. Miller sponsored legalization measures in past sessions, and McCaffrey said he backs a conventional commercial market.
Joseph Shekarchi, the House speaker, said that although he absolutely seconds the notion of decriminalization, he favors privatization.
These signal a growing probability that Rhode Island will join the bandwagon as legislators pursue the bill this session. However, what remains uncertain is what will be featured in 2021’s budget. The budget will be tabled before the legislature in March.
The surging momentum in Rhode Island comes as legislators in nearby Connecticut move towards cannabis legalization this year.