A coalition of 10 civil rights and drug policy reform advocacy groups—including the Rhode Island chapters of the ACLU and NAACP—are demanding that lawmakers move ahead with enacting marijuana legalization in the state before the end of 2021. Meanwhile, the lead sponsors of competing House and Senate legalization bills told Marijuana Moment on Tuesday that conversations about working out the differences between their proposals and a separate one proposed by the governor are going well. In a statement released by the coalition Yes We Cannabis RI on Tuesday, activists said they are “urging lawmakers to reach a deal to equitably legalize cannabis for adults in a special legislative session tentatively slated for this fall.” “The war on cannabis has gone on long enough. Tens of thousands of Rhode Island residents, disproportionately people of color, bear the weight of a criminal record for something that is now legal in both Connecticut and Massachusetts. It is time to stop the harm and repair the damage that has been done here in our state. We urge members of the General Assembly to find common ground and move forward with a plan to equitably legalize cannabis in a special legislative session this year.” House Speaker Joe Shekarchi (D) said in July that while there’s not yet a consensus among legislators and the governor on a deal to legalize marijuana, it’s still a “workable” issue and would be prioritized if negotiations succeed this summer and a special session is convened this fall.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 08/31/2021 13:25:00