legalization of marijuana

RI & CT Lawmakers Consider Legalizing Marijuana As Deadline Looms

Mar 19, 2018
Jeff Chiu / AP

The legal retail of marijuana in Massachusetts begins July 1. That’s prompted Rhode Island and Connecticut lawmakers to once again consider legislation to regulate the sale of recreational marijuana. Similar legislation failed in both states last year.

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Governor Gina Raimondo has proposed cutting more than $70 million in state funding for Medicaid, the government health insurance for low-income residents, while preserving eligibility for the nearly one in three residents in the program.

The top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts said this week that he can't promise to take a hands-off approach to legalized marijuana. The comments follow a change in federal policy on marijuana, and they come at a time when the Bay State is finalizing plans for the first recreational sales of the drug.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling was responding to concerns from supporters of legalization after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would encourage a tougher stance against marijuana, which remains illegal at the federal level. 

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The House and Senate have stopped considering legislation to legalize recreational pot and instead opted to create a 19-member joint commission to study the situation in states like Washington and Colorado, where it's already legal.

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The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on a bill Tuesday that would create a commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island. The 15-member commission would look at the financial impacts of legalization in states like Colorado.

State Sen. Louis DiPalma (D-Middletown) joins Bonus Q&A to discuss a host of legislative issues, including Governor Raimondo's college tuition proposal; Speaker Mattiello's car tax priority; the use of state subsidies, and much more.

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A new report from Public Policy Polling finds that 59% of Rhode Island voters are for marijuana regulation and taxation. 

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week, Dave and Mark speak with Preston Halperin of the law firm of Shectman, Halperin and Savage of Pawtucket. Halperin represents marijuana cultivating clients in MA and RI, advising them on the business-related issues.

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With all the focus on the ugly, roller-coaster presidential campaign, a referendum closer to Rhode Island’s borders hasn’t received much media attention in the waning days of the campaign. That would be the Massachusetts ballot question that would legalize recreational marijuana, which voters consider on Tuesday.

The latest public opinion survey for WBUR, Boston’s npr affiliate, shows a 15-point gap in favor of making the weed legal. The poll, conducted by MassINC, showed 55 percent in favor and 40 percent opposed.

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States that have legalized marijuana are contending with a new criminal tactic - smugglers who grow and process it for export to states where it remains illegal - and worth a lot more.

Colorado is the epicenter of the phenomenon, and it’s popping up in Oregon and Washington too. As Maine, Massachusetts and Canada consider legalizing recreational marijuana, the question arises - will the Northeast see a wave of new-age bootleggers?

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Governor Lincoln Chafee sounded cautious notes about legalizing recreational marijuana, when he spoke with the Huffington Post about the potential of legalizing recreational pot in Rhode Island. 

His administration saw the decriminalization of the drug in 2013, and medical marijuana has been legal for several years.

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In the run up to a Super Bowl between two teams from states that have legalized marijuana, thus giving whole new meaning to the term Bud Bowl, pollsters are taking the pulse of public opinion on  the issue in other states.

Today, Public Policy Polling released a public opinion survey that shows 53 percent of Rhode Island voters support changing the state’s laws to sell, regulate and tax pot in a manner similar to alcohol.