Rhode Island: Senate Approves Cannabis Study Commission
By Michael Bachara
On June 22, the Rhode Island Senate approved legislation sponsored by Senator Cynthia Coyne (D) to create a 19-member joint legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational cannabis in Washington and Colorado. The bill, 2017-S 0277A, moves to the House, which has already approved identical legislation sponsored by Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D).
The partisan legislation, cosponsored by Sen. James A. Seveney (D), Sen. Harold M. Metts (D), Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D) and Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D), seeks to educate legislators on pragmatic cannabis policy.
“Based on my experience as a retired State Police lieutenant and a mom of four children, I understand that legalization of marijuana for recreational use could have serious public safety, public health and societal ramifications. It is imperative that we thoughtfully consider the unintended consequences and take notice from lessons learned in Colorado and Washington. We should take full advantage of other states’ experiences and learn about whether we should follow in their footsteps or perhaps take a different approach to avoid any problems they may have encountered,” said Senator Coyne.
The purpose of the commission would be to conduct a comprehensive review and make recommendations regarding cannabis and the effects of its use on the residents of Colorado and Washington to the extent available, to study the fiscal impact to those states, and thereafter the potential impact on Rhode Island of legalized recreational cannabis.
The commission would consist of three members of the House of Representatives, three members of the Senate, one member from Smart Approaches to Marijuana, the President of the Substance Use Mental Health Council of RI or a designee, a member of a pro-legalization organization, the Executive Director of the RI 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 RI Police Chief’s Association or a designee, a designee of the RI Attorney General, a member representing the medical marijuana patients of Rhode Island, an educator in Rhode Island, a mental health professional, a criminal defense attorney, and the President of the RI AFL-CIO.
Photo Source: WIKI (Common)