Rep. Canario bill aims to study effects of legalizing recreational marijuana

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) has introduced legislation (2017-H 5551) that would create a 15-member special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island.

“The potential effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island would have drastic impacts to the fabric of our state and this commission is necessary to determine if those effects would come with positive or negative outcomes,” said Rep. Canario, a retired police officer. 

“There is too much at stake from both a financial and a public health standpoint to rush into legalization because Massachusetts has elected to do so. This commission will take a thoughtful and data-driven approach to determine if legalizing marijuana is the right move for Rhode Island.”

The commission would consist of three members from the House of Representatives; three members from the Senate; one member from Smart Approaches to Marijuana; the president of the Substance Use Mental Health Council of Rhode Island or a designee; a member from a pro-legalization organization; the executive director of the Rhode Island Medical Society or a designee; a member of a local chamber of commerce; the director of the Department of Health or a designee; the president of the Rhode Island Police Chief’s Association or a designee; a designee of the Rhode Island Attorney General; and a member representing the medical marijuana patients of Rhode Island.

The purpose of the commission would be to conduct a comprehensive review and make recommendations regarding marijuana and the effects of its use on the residents of Colorado and Washington to the extent available, and to study the fiscal impact to those states; and thereafter, the potential impact on Rhode Island of legalized recreational marijuana.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.

The legislation’s cosponsors are Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown), Rep. Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence), Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter), and Rep. Robert A. Nardolillo III (R-Dist. 28, Coventry). 


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