Rhode Island’s legislative session ends with legal hemp, licensed medical growers, PTSD added to medical marijuana program; adult-use back next year
Rhode Island is set to join America’s industrial hemp revolution after a legislative vote June 20 to legalize the agriculture.
In final days of its annual session this week, state lawmakers also licensed medical pot growers, and added post-traumatic stress disorder to the state’s medical marijuana program — bolstering support for the sometimes controversial use of medical cannabis. The measures go to Governor Gina Raimondo for approval.
Adult-use legalization was also on the table in the Rhode Island legislature this year, but the session expired this week before The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act was voted on. A recent poll indicates 55 percent of Rhode Islanders said they support regulating marijuana for adults like alcohol.
Under Rhode Island law, hemp will be defined as cannabis containing less than three-tenths of one percent THC, or less. (Medically active cannabis can be up to about 25% THC, cannabis’ main active ingredient.)
The Rhode Island legislature closed up the 2016 legislative session early Saturday morning, after thirteen hours of deliberation.
“Still here @RISenate @ 5:45am from 6/17 in final day of Legislative session. I think we are going for a record,” Senator Juan M. Pichardo tweeted. The state’s Senate and House worked out details of the state’s budget.
Before deadline, lawmakers also tweaked the state’s medical cannabis program to create licensed medical cannabis farmers, and a tag system for the state’s legal pot plants. The tiny state has three dispensaries.
Adult use advocacy group Regulate Rhode Island, along with its coalition, will have to wait until next year’s session. It’s the sixth consecutive year a marijuana legalization bill has failed in America’s smallest state.
Regulate Rhode Island director Jared Moffat says they plan on continuing their efforts to re-introduce a bill next year.
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