First hearing on RI marijuana legalization scheduled

Marijuana
(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Tuesday marks the first legislative hearing on a proposal to legalize marijuana in Rhode Island. Similar meetings have been held every year since 2011, but none have actually resulted in a vote.

Top lawmakers in the state remain conflicted with some for and others against legalizing it.

Supporters want to pass a bill this year to ensure legalization in Rhode Island before marijuana stores begin opening in Massachusetts in July 2018.

The lead sponsor on the House bill, Representative Scott Slater, says there is enough support to a pass a bill this year.

Many opponents, including Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, plan on working hard to stop any legislation from moving forward. A counter-bill will also be discussed on Tuesday. That bill would stop the legalization movement and instead create a study commission that would then make recommendations to the General Assembly next March.

The hearing is set to begin around 5 p.m.