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Rhode Island Governor Will Pursue Legal Marijuana In 2020

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Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) says she’ll make another attempt to legalize marijuana in the Ocean State next year.

In an appearance on WPRI-TV’s Newsmakers program, the governor said she recently discussed the cannabis issue during a lunch with Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), and she left feeling encouraged to pursue the policy change.

Baker “basically said, ‘Look, you’re going to have to do it, so you probably should do it and do it right.’ And I think he’s probably right,” Raimondo said in the interview that aired last weekend. “Connecticut I think is pretty close to doing it, so it’s likely.”

Watch Raimondo’s marijuana comments at 12:30 into the video below:

“Last year we made a step forward with more medical [cannabis] and I think the next logical step is adult use,” she said.

Raimondo’s meeting with Baker and Lamont came just weeks after a separate vaping and cannabis-focused summit featuring the Connecticut governor and those from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, at which those top state executives agreed to a set of principles to shape regional marijuana legalization plans.

Raimondo included a legalization proposal in her 2019 budget submission to the legislature, but it was not adopted by lawmakers.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and other governors from the Northeast have said that they want to approach legalization in a regionally coordinated manner in order to bolster public safety and prevent people from purchasing cannabis from neighboring states because of differences in tax rates or product availability, for example.

Senate leaders in New Jersey said on Monday that they were giving up on legalizing through the legislature for the time being, conceding that they don’t have the votes to pass a bill that appeases all stakeholders. Instead, they filed a bill that would place a referendum on legalization before voters in 2020.

Also in the new interview, Raimondo discussed a lawsuit she filed against legislative leaders over a statute they passed that effectively gives them veto power over the state’s cannabis regulations.

Governors Of Northeastern States Adopt Coordinated Marijuana Legalization Plan

Photo elements courtesy of Kenneth C. Zirkel and Carlos Gracia.

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