Beginning Dec. 1, dispensary owners in Rhode Island will be able to legally sell marijuana for recreational use, following the national trend of legalization in states across the country.
Before Gov. Dan McKee signed legislation in May legalizing recreational marijuana sales, Rhode Island allowed sales of medical marijuana. Erica Ferelli, principal economic and policy analyst for Rhode Island’s Office of Cannabis Regulation, said that most of the current regulations around marijuana sales will remain in place, but currently licensed dispensaries will be allowed to sell recreationally.
State Senator Joshua Miller, a Democrat from Cranston who introduced the senate bill that legalized recreational cannabis use, wrote in an email to The Herald that legislative support for legalizing cannabis increased once more people understood the social equity impact of doing so. The bill acknowledged “that family members, especially children, and communities of those who have been arrested or incarcerated due to cannabis-related laws, suffer from emotional, psychological and financial harms as a result of such arrests or incarcerations.”
He also attributed increased support for legalization to more Rhode Islanders going to Massachusetts, where recreational marijuana sales have been legal since 2018, to purchase cannabis products, and therefore paying the sales taxes to