Where Does Rhode Island Stand On Marijuana?

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In
the
early
evening
of
June
22,
the
Rhode
Island
House
of
Representatives
passed
the
state’s
$9.9
billion
budget
for
fiscal
2020.
Among
the
high-profile
provisions
in
the
488-page
spending
plan
was
Article
15,
which
significantly
reshaped
the
state’s
medical
marijuana
industry.
After
six
years
of
three
dispensaries,
the
General
Assembly
expanded
the
marketplace
to
nine,
and
doubled
the
price
of
a
license
to
$500,000.

In
his
budgetary
post-mortem,
House
Speaker
Nicholas
Mattiello
expressed
his
satisfaction
with
the
final
product:
“There
is
something
in
there
for
almost
every
segment
of
society.
I
would
guess
that
everyone
in
this
chamber
[got] something
they
liked,
but
not
everything
they
liked.”

For
his
part,
Mattiello
got
something
he
liked
very
much:
nine
words
added
to
Article
15’s
rulemaking
section,
which
mandated
that
any
new
cannabis
or
hemp
rules
promulgated
by
the
Department
of
Business
Regulations
“shall
be
subject
to
approval
by
the
General
Assembly
prior
to
enactment.”

In
the
hullaballoo
over
the
licensing
fee
hike
and
the
jockeying
for
the
six
new
licenses,
this
power
shift
from
the
governor
to
the
speaker
of
the
House
went
largely
unnoticed.
Providence
Senator
Josh
Miller,
one
of
two
point
people
in
the
General
Assembly
on
cannabis
legislation,
says
he
found
out
about
it
either
just
before
or
just
after
the
budget
passed,
but
generally
“it
was
not
well-known.
I
was
surprised,
and
I’m
not
easily
surprised
at
this
point.”
[Read
more
at
Rhode
Island
Monthly
]